an app helps patients (before and after surgery) –

from Ruggiero Corcella

It is called Butterfly and allows the surgical team to always remain close to those who are operated on, even once they have returned home, to support them and assist them in the treatment process.

Its suggestive name: Butterfly. was designed as a travel companion for people who face a difficult test like that of one bariatric surgery. Let’s talk about that kind of key interventions for obese patients, both to eliminate excess adipose tissue, and to cure or prevent the serious, long-term and fatal diseases that obesity entails. Butterfly not an application downloadable from online stores, on whose scientific reliability and reliability it is necessary to pay close attention. It was developed by a multidisciplinary team from the Obesity Surgery Center of A. Gemelli University Hospital Irccs (Rome), in collaboration with the National Institute for Obesit Treatment ofIrccs San Donato Polyclinic (Milan). The bariatric patient is a very complex patient, he really needs constant contact with the doctor and to be looked after. It is not just about addressing the problem of excess weight, but all that obesity brings with it, the many pathologies connected to it, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, diabetes, hypertension, tumors. We realized this all the more in a difficult moment like that of the pandemic and the lockdown, in which we were able to stay close to patients using web platforms, explains Professor Marco Raffaelli, director of the Uoc of Endocrine and Metabolic Surgery of Gemelli.

How does it work

Bariatric surgery is not suitable for everyone. There are exclusion criteria, therefore a very accurate multidisciplinary evaluation is needed. At the end of this process, if the patient is a candidate for surgery, we explain how the application works. If you want, you can download it and to use it you must use a code generated by us and the code of your health card. From the moment he signs up, messages begin to arrive What is it about? They are motivational messages, in a preoperative phase, and questions related to how the course is going, in the post-operative phase. We set up questions that evaluate various aspects: nutrition, surgical complications, the psychological sphere. The app reminds the patient to diet and exercise, prepare for surgery properly. This “friend” reminds him that he will have to undergo surgery that day and wishes him well.

Continuous monitoring

On the other side of the monitor, Gemelli’s doctors follow the assisted person’s activity and any alerts that the app generates if the preset algorithms find abnormal situations and a clinical study is required. But be clear Butterfly remains a tool aimed at integrating – and certainly not to replace – normal welfare activities, in order to facilitate the constant interaction between the healthcare staff and the patient, adds Raffaelli. And what do patients think of the digital innovation? The 21 recruited so far in the pre-operative phase have been very happy. We gave them a questionnaire that measures the degree of satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10: the average was 8.5.


But MyPancreas was also born at Gemelli the first app used in a center specialized in high volume pancreatic surgery, such as that of the University Hospital. It is used to remotely monitor the patient in the pre-operative phase, during the hospital stay and at home after his return home. It represents in practice a digitalization of the diagnostic-therapeutic path, which guarantees a constant care of the patient, in every moment of his clinical process. Our goal is to get as many patients as possible to surgery, currently the only possible cure for an aggressive tumor like that of the pancreas, explains Professor Sergio Alfieri, director of the Pancreas Surgical Center. But recovery after a complex surgery like this can be long and challenging. This is why we want to provide all our patients with this app that can guarantee constant monitoring of their conditions and keep them in contact with the medical team and the hospital. Traditional channels, while adequate, do not always guarantee constant proximity to the patient, especially in the case of a high-volume center like ours, a reference point for all patients in Central-Southern Italy, who must be followed carefully even once they return home, concludes Alfieri.

September 12, 2021 (change September 12, 2021 | 16:22)


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