Cooper University Health Care is the second healthcare system in the country to begin using the Heroes Health wellness app. The app was developed recently by a team led by the UNC Institute for Trauma Recovery with the help of Google Cloud, to better support the mental health of frontline workers and first responders.
The app is primarily designed to support first responders and COVID workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Heroes Health app, however, will also play an important role in research, according to Christopher Jones, MD, an emergency physician and head of the division of clinical research in Cooper’s Emergency Medicine Department who is part of the team that developed the app.
For individual health care workers, the Heroes Health app delivers short mental health self-assessments each week and displays symptom summary reports to help them better understand the state of their own mental health and changes over time. This survey provides a brief assessment of their anxiety, depression symptoms, stress, and sleep. The app also provides links to immediate support and mental health resources, if needed.
“Data collected anonymously from many hundreds or thousands of users from institutions across the nation will be analyzed to better understand the stresses faced by frontline healthcare workers during the pandemic and to help design mental health resources for workers in the future, for example in future pandemics or natural disasters,” said Dr. Jones. “We will also be able to analyze data anonymously to see trends within our own institution to identify any particular units or departments or types of workers that may need additional resources to cope with the effects of work-related stress before they reach critical stages.”
Use of the tool is voluntary and confidential, and the app is available for iPhone or Android versions from the App Store or Google Play Store.
Since the initiative launched this summer, Cooper and a number of leading health systems have encouraged its staff to use the Heroes Health app. At Cooper, the app was one of many tools enlisted by the health system’s Resiliency Resource Team to help support employees during the pandemic.
For several years, Cooper physicians have worked closely with physicians at UNC and other partnering academic institutions to study mental health outcomes among trauma patients. Since COVID-19 temporarily limited many research activities at these institutions, the study investigators aimed to use their expertise in studying mental health outcomes to help support frontline healthcare workers during this pandemic. The Heroes Health app initiative is expanding to other healthcare institutions across the country.
Wendy A. Marano
Public Relations Manager