From pre- to post-op, text messaging can improve patient care and increase facility efficiency. Through this widely available and effective communication tool, patients are informed and engaged, while facilities enjoy better connection, a decrease in cost and time, and improved staff and patient satisfaction.
The pre-operative process can be overwhelming for both patients and facilities considering the amount of information that needs to be communicated, along with the necessity for timeliness and compliance. Texting can mitigate the paper-dump on patients, easing nerves and aiding in retention of information and adherence to instructions.
In a study of 170 patients undergoing thoracic surgery at Toronto East General Hospital1, 98% of patients reported satisfaction with text messaging, and researchers found those receiving texts were at a reduced risk of procedure delays and cancellations. The study confirmed that of the less than 40% of patients who actually read paper instructions doctors give them, less than 20% can accurately relay the information. In contrast, text messages can be read and reviewed at the patients’ convenience and provide valuable links to educational videos and resources.
These messages provide precisely timed preparation instructions, including when to discontinue eating and drinking, remind them to provide required medical history and reiterate logistics like arrival time and directions. As a result, patients arrive prepared and informed.
Day of Surgery
When a patient arrives on-time, NPO compliant, and fully prepared for surgery, your facility can work at its optimum to provide the best care and patient experience. Texting patients before their surgery has been found to produce such results, with the added benefit of a saving facilities considerable time and money.
Texting can also prove invaluable for keeping loved ones and families informed during the entire process. Messages can be sent to let families know their loved one is out of surgery, in recovery, and ready to see visitors.
Patients’ discharge can be as overwhelming and stressful as pre-op, with the added strain of pain management and effects of anesthesia. Family members are often distracted by the logistics of getting their loved one home and tending to their immediate needs; as a result, details about filling prescriptions, making follow-up appointments, and following post-surgical care instructions get lost in the confusion. Text messaging can present information in a manner that is much more helpful to both patient and caregiver, saving the facility numerous follow-up phone calls and the patient unnecessary post-surgical ER visits.
Pain management is a critical component of successful recovery. Important information and educational resources on adhering to medication schedules, side-effects and narcotic dependency can be sent to the patient and their family so that these issues can be detected earlier when they are easier to treat. Additionally, alternative therapies and wellness initiatives can be suggested. This type of communication leaves patients feeling supported and connected, which points to higher satisfaction and better outcomes.
With such a positive comprehensive effect on the entire perioperative continuum, it is no surprise facilities are turning to texting.
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