MyEDCare: Evaluation of a Smartphone-Based Emergency Department Discharge Process

Appl Clin Inform. 2021 Mar;12(2):362-371. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1729165. Epub 2021 Apr 28.


Background: Poor comprehension and low compliance with post-ED (emergency department) care plans increase the risk of unscheduled ED return visits and adverse outcomes. Despite the growth of personal health records to support transitions of care, technological innovation's focus on the ED discharge process has been limited. Recent literature suggests that digital communication incorporated into post-ED care can improve patient satisfaction and care quality.

Objectives: We evaluated the feasibility of utilizing MyEDCare, a text message and smartphone-based electronic ED discharge process at two urban EDs.

Methods: MyEDCare sends text messages to patients' smartphones at the time of discharge, containing a hyperlink to a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant website, to deliver patient-specific ED discharge instructions. Content includes information on therapeutics, new medications, outpatient care scheduling, return precautions, as well as results of laboratory and radiological diagnostic testing performed in the ED. Three text messages are sent to patients: at the time of ED discharge with the nurse assistance for initial access of content, as well as 2 and 29 days after ED discharge. MyEDCare was piloted in a 9-month pilot period in 2019 at two urban EDs in an academic medical center. We evaluated ED return visits, ED staff satisfaction, and patient satisfaction using ED Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ED-CAHPS) patient satisfaction scores.

Results: MyEDCare enrolled 27,713 patients discharged from the two EDs, accounting for 43% of treat-and-release ED patients. Of the treat-and-release patients, 27% completed MyEDCare discharge process, accessing the online content at the time of ED discharge. Patients discharged via MyEDCare had fewer 72-hour, 9-day, and 30-day unscheduled return ED visits and reported higher satisfaction related to nursing care.

Conclusion: EDs and urgent care facilities may consider developing a HIPAA-compliant, text message, and smartphone-based discharge process, including the transmission of test results, to improve patient-centered outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Smartphone*