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What are the new findings?
Perioperatively, patient families want an increase in frequency of communication.
PatientLink, a novel mobile web-based communication tool, was developed in a patient-centric manner to provide realtime perioperative updates from the surgical team.
In a pilot study, PatientLink demonstrated excellent usability, a high satisfaction rating and enabled reduced stress levels.
How might it impact on healthcare in the future?
PatientLink may enhance the healthcare experience by decreasing perioperative anxiety for the patient and their loved ones.
Surgery is stressful. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 48 million surgical procedures were performed in the USA in a single year.1 The majority of these procedures reflect instances wherein patients are entering an unfamiliar, foreign environment for the first time. While it is common practice for patients to have family or friends accompany them on the day of their surgery, the clinical world is unfamiliar to those outside the healthcare profession. This is true during the perioperative process, a period of time where supporters are separated from their loved ones. Despite the fact that surgeons agree perioperative communication with family members plays a key role in alleviating anxiety and providing support, there remains inconsistent communication in terms of frequency and content.2
The need for improved communication between the healthcare team and supporters is recognised across multiple disciplines.3 4 There is a noted lack of consistency in the frequency and content of communication in clinical practice.2 A recent systematic review indicated that improved communication throughout the perioperative process is a well-recognised need for patient and supporter satisfaction.4 Currently, the literature focuses on preoperative anxiety among patients themselves, including success of operation, complications, postoperative pain and recovery timeline.5 6 It is also recognised that the hospital environment proves stressful to not only the patient, but their supporters as well.7 Furthermore, the emotional status of supporters can impact …
EB and KK are joint first authors.
EB and KK contributed equally.
Contributors CN was the principal investigator. CN conceived of the idea for PatientLink. CN, AC and RS contributed to design and development of PatientLink. KK and EB designed surveys and performed data analysis. KK, EB and LS performed participant recruitment and study execution. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests The authors report no proprietary or commercial interest in any product mentioned or concept discussed in this article. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. CN is the director of SonicIncytes, an elastography imaging company, and president of Cosmic Medical, a respiratory device non-profit. CN receives research funding from Pfizer and Roche for endeavours unrelated to this manuscript.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.