Boston Medical Center Wins ECRI Institute’s Award for Pulmonary Care App

ECRI’s 2018 Health Devices Achievement Award spotlights excellence in health technology management and patient safety

May 17, 2018

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA—ECRI Institute is pleased to announce that Boston Medical Center is the winner of the 2018 Health Devices Achievement Award. The award, now in its 12th year, recognizes innovative and effective initiatives undertaken by ECRI Institute member healthcare institutions to improve patient safety, reduce costs, or otherwise facilitate better strategic management of health technology.

This year, the respected award goes to Boston Medical Center for its patient-centric mobile app that promotes better engagement with and adherence to the hospital's recommended postoperative pulmonary care protocol. Named the ICOUGH Recovery app, the tool guides patients through the steps of the "ICOUGH" pulmonary care protocol, which focuses on (I)ncentive spirometry, (C)oughing and deep breathing, (O)ral hygiene, (U)nderstanding the value of these actions, (G)etting out of bed at least three times daily, and (H)ead-of-bed elevation.

"We congratulate Boston Medical Center for its effective utilization of technology for post-surgery recovery," says ECRI Institute's David Jamison, executive director, health technology evaluation and safety. “This BMC team's research showed effective creation and use of an app to engage patients, implement a protocol, and speed their recovery postsurgery. In one measure, app users ambulated three times more than the minimum number of walks per day recommended in the protocol."

“This clever tool is an example of how innovative young minds can re-shape approaches to old challenges. When two Boston University School of Medicine students, Andrew Chu and Samir Haroon, proposed a smartphone application to support ICOUGH, we could not have imagined how well patients and staff would receive the app or how effective it might be. The results are especially impressive in our safety net hospital, Boston Medical Center, where one-quarter of patients do not speak English and racial and ethnic minorities constitute 70% of all patients," noted Dr. David McAneny, vice chair of the department of surgery and principal investigator of the original ICOUGH study.

The app sends notifications to the patients' phones reminding them to perform certain activities, and incorporates gamification and social-support features to promote adherence to the protocol. For instance, patients can earn gold stars for getting out of bed to walk around the care area, track how long they have been using their incentive spirometer, and compare their performance to that of other patients. A friend or family member can be designated as a “Care Coach" and receive updates via the app to help the patient stay accountable.

Patients who tried the app during its trial phase remarked that it empowered them to take greater control of their recovery. Clinicians like that the app helps improve patient compliance without overburdening the staff.

Boston Medical Center's award-winning strategy is featured in an article on ECRI Institute's Health Devices website.

ECRI Institute also recognized five other initiatives as finalists for the 2018 Health Devices Achievement Award. The technology management initiatives described by these organizations (listed below in alphabetical order) earned praise from the award selection committee:

  • Boston Medical Center (Boston, MA): Identifying and Responding to Clinically Decompensating Patients—Implementing an EMR-Based Early Warning System
  • Einstein Healthcare Network (Philadelphia, PA): Reducing IV Contrast Extravasations during CT Examinations—Validating a New Approach
  • St. Luke's Medical Center (Quezon City, Philippines): Coping with Delivery Delays and High Supply Costs in the Philippines—Establishing a Medical Equipment Accessories Management Program
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Healthcare Technology Management Program Office (Bedford, MA): Improving the VA's Ability to Respond to Cybersecurity Threats—Designing a Networked Medical Device Database
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA): Configuring Blood Glucose Monitors to Reduce the Risk of Treatment Errors—Conducting a Simulation Study

For more information about ECRI Institute's Health Devices Achievement Award or about becoming a member of ECRI Institute's medical technology procurement and management programs, contact ECRI Institute at (610) 825-6000, ext. 5891; visit; e-mail; or mail to ECRI Institute, 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462.

Social Sharing

  • Winning submission from @The_BMC for @ECRI_Institute Health Devices Achievement Award spotlights postoperative #pulmonary care app

About ECRI Institute
ECRI Institute (, a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes enable improved patient care. As pioneers in this science for 50 years, ECRI Institute marries experience and independence with the objectivity of evidence-based research. Strict conflict-of-interest guidelines ensure objectivity. ECRI Institute is designated an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO is listed as a federally certified Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information, contact:
Laurie Menyo, Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
(610) 825-6000, ext. 5310