Geisinger and Bucknell Team Up For New Surgical App

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It seems there's an app for everything these days, including for patients who have had- or who are considering- bariatric surgery.  Geisinger Medical Center unveiled its first official entry into the app market, with the help of two students at Bucknell University.

Calculating weight loss results from surgery, such as gastric bypass, was a best guess.  But not anymore, according to Dr. Christopher Still, who says a new app called Get 2 Goal is the "missing link" in patient care. The app is available for download on iPhone and iPad.

"We can give them a really definite weight loss expectation, up to 5 years.  And that has really been missing," said Dr. Still.

Doctors at Geisinger wanted a program that would factor age, gender, weight, height and other medical conditions into a patient's results.  So they called on the computer science department at Bucknell University in Lewisburg earlier this year, specifically two students: graduating senior Elaina Miller and sophomore Yushan Zhang.

"During the first week we did all the sketching, figured out what we wanted, then implemented it," said Zhang.

Zhang and Miller showed us those sketches- done by hand in pencil- and the program used to create the app.  Two months later, helped along by weekly meetings with Geisinger officials, Get 2 Goal was available.

"I think it's great.  I check the itunes store all the time to see how many downloads we have.  And there's a blog where people are talking about it, and I check that all the time too," said Miller.

At last check, around 500 people had downloaded the free app.  Dr. Still says it has gotten rave reviews.

"We have some patient feedback from different blogs and it's very well recieved by them," he added.

The students' project advisor, Dr. Rick Zaccone, says he's glad Bucknell could help out, he couldn't be more please with the result, and he sees a bright future for students with skills like Elaina and Yushan's.

"There's an app for everything!  And poeple are coming up with new ways to use their smartphones. It still amazes me," Dr. Zaccone told us.

The app is the first of its kind for Geisinger Medical Center.  Officials say they hope to develop more in the future.