Skip to content Skip to navigation

Electronic Reminders Can Help Patients Prevent Surgical Site Infections

August 1, 2014
by John DeGaspari
| Reprints
A study reports on a simple digital messaging system that significantly increases patient compliance with a preadmission showering

The use of electronic reminders such as text messages, emails or voicemails is highly effective at getting surgical patients to adhere to a preadmission antiseptic showering regimen known to help reduce risk of surgical site infections (SSIs), according a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Each year approximately 400,000 SSIs occur and lead to a death rate approaching nearly 100,000 according to data sources cited by study authors. To help reduce the risk of these dangerous infections, clinicians recommend that surgical patients take antiseptic showers 24 to 48 hours before admission.

 “In general, getting patients to comply with this preadmission cleansing strategy is a challenge throughout health care,” said lead study author Charles E. Edmiston, Ph.D., professor of surgery and hospital epidemiologist, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in a prepared satatement. “When you use a prompt like texting or emailing, you make the patient an intimate partner in the health care process.” 

For the study, researchers recruited 80 healthy volunteers who were randomized to one of four skin-antiseptic showering groups. Electronic alerts were sent as voicemails, text messages or emails, with text messages being the most popular method (80 percent) among volunteers. Volunteers were randomized to either taking two or three showers. Each of those groups was subdivided into groups that received an electronic prompt to shower or did not receive an electronic prompt.

The researchers found that the patients who did not receive digital communications reminding them to shower were significantly less compliant with preadmission orders compared with those who received the electronic reminders. “I think a study like this provides us with a tremendous opportunity to empower patients because it clearly makes them an intimate partner in the whole health care experience,” Dr. Edmiston said.

 

Topics

News

CMS Looks to Increase Patient Engagement with New Models

The Centers for Medicare & and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced two new models from the CMS Innovation Center (CMMI) that will aim to increase patient engagement in care decisions by putting more information in the hands of Medicare beneficiaries.

Medtronic, Fitbit Integrating Health and Activity Data for Diabetes Management

Fitness wearables company Fitbit, based in San Francisco, and Dublin, Ireland-based Medtronic, a medical device company, have teamed up to integrate health and activity tracking for patients living with diabetes and their physicians and care teams.

UC San Diego Health Offering EHR, iPad Access to Patients

Patients at the recently-opened Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health can be in more command with their own experience by assessing their own medical information, controlling room features and more.

Texas Medical Center, Australia Form BioBridge to Develop Health Innovation

Houston-based Texas Medical Center (TMC) and the Melbourne-based Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) are collaborating on a health startup exchange program.

Teladoc Hits 101K Patient Visits in November

Telehealth vendor Teladoc announced this week that it totaled 101,600 e-health patient visits in November, setting a company record.

Research of mHealth Apps Reveals Significant Gaps in Quality

An evaluation of 137 patient-facing mobile health apps revealed that few apps address the needs of the patients who could benefit the most, according to research in December’s issue of Health Affairs.