Bucknell Students Create an App for Weight Loss Surgery Candidates

Due to high obesity rates within the U.S, professionals are calling this issue an “epidemic”, and this means that innovative thinkers are being called upon to find solutions to these issues. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that 1 in 3 adults in the country can be classified as obese, as this number is set to rise. Surgery is a very appealing option to many of these individuals, as it can greatly assist in helping them to shed the weight.

Long Term Results

According to the director of the Geisinger Health System’s Obesity Institute, Dr. Christopher Still, “Surgery is one of the most successful, long-term and safe treatments for obesity. And more importantly, bariatric procedures often address other serious medical problems associated with obesity such as diabetes, sleep apnea and fatty liver.” It is important for patients to keep an eye on their progress after the surgery, as this could end up having a big effect on the results that they obtain – this is also where the benefits of the weight loss app comes in.

Geisinger and the Weight Loss App

In order to assist patients in tracking their progress, Geisinger developed an algorithm that would assist patients who had gone through this procedure. In order to make it easily accessible to the public, however, he turned to Rick Zaccone, a professor within the computer science’s division at Bucknell University – the aim was to turn the algorithm into an app.

These days, almost everyone has a favorite app that they turn whether they would like to find out what the weather will be like on the weekend or what the traffic is like on their way to work – in this case, the app aims to track the progress of patient who has recently undergone a gastic bypass. According to Zaccone, “When Geisinger contacted me about developing a mobile application, I knew this was a big project and a great opportunity for some students to gain valuable experience.” While some might have seen this as a daunting challenge, Zaccone thought of it as an exciting opportunity.

Making Progress

On describing the process of developing the app, Craig Wood of Geisinger’s Obesity Institute said, “They worked every day and were perfectionists. Education is a big part of the Geisinger mission so giving them a chance to work on a project like this seemed like a great thing to so.” The app took about three months to finish and can be downloaded for iPads or iPhones.