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

Survey: Most Digital Health Users Are Not Using EHRs to Manage Their Health

May 2, 2016
While 60 percent of consumers who use digital health tools say they have an electronic health record (EHR), only 22 percent of these patients are accessing EHRs to help make medical decisions, according to a survey by HealthMine.

GOP Senators Want Feds to Include Hospitals for MU Flexibility

May 2, 2016
Six GOP senators have written to federal officials to request feedback on legislation they drafted that would address the ongoing issues with implementation of the meaningful use program.

Last Day to Submit to the Healthcare Informatics 100

May 2, 2016
The Healthcare Informatics 100 has been up and running, but the submission process is ending today. Vendors, you only have one day to submit your data!

CHIME Calls for More Transparent, Uniform Interoperability Standards for Medical Devices

April 29, 2016
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collaborate with other federal agencies to ensure that medical devices are truly interoperable with electronic heath records (EHR) systems.

Survey: EHR Switches Resulted in Higher Than Expected Costs, Layoffs, Negative Impact on Healthcare Delivery

April 29, 2016
Four years after what market research firm Black Book calls the inpatient electronic health record (EHR) “replacement frenzy,” surveyed clinicians expressed many doubts about the benefits of switching systems.

Healthcare Informatics Recognized with Four ASHPE Awards

April 29, 2016
Healthcare Informatics has been recognized by the American Society for Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE) with four awards as part of the ASHPE’s 2016 Awards Competition.

Truven Health Analytics Identifies 15 Top Health Systems Based on Clinical, Administrative Performance

April 28, 2016
A study by Truven Health Analytics found that the top-performing multi-hospital health systems in the U.S. achieved higher survival rates and fewer errors at a lower overall treatment cost.

Report: Privilege Misuse and End User Errors Leading Threats to Healthcare Security

April 28, 2016
End users are often the weakest link in an organization’s cyber defense as cyber criminals exploit human nature to execute attack patterns such as phishing, according to Verizon Enterprise’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report.

Survey: Execs Optimistic on Future of Health IT

April 27, 2016
Healthcare executives support electronic health records (EHRs) and a move to even wider communication amongst technology systems in the future, according to a new survey from financial services firm CIT Group and Harris Poll.

House Introduces HHS Data Protection Act of 2016

April 27, 2016
Two House Energy and Commerce Committee members have introduced a bill that would reform the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to designate the HHS Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) as the primary authority on all matters of information security at the agency.

Practice Fusion Joins Federal Interoperability Pledge

April 26, 2016
Practice Fusion, the cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) vendor from San Francisco, has become the latest technology company to sign the interoperability pledge introduced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Hospital Safety Scores Report Indicates Avoidable Deaths Remain High

April 26, 2016
There is a 50 percent higher risk of avoidable death at a hospital that received a Hospital Safety Score of D or F compared to hospitals that have received A grades, according to the Leapfrog Group's newly updated hospital safety scores.

AHA Brief: Coverage for Telehealth Services Not Keeping Pace with Care Delivery Innovations

April 26, 2016
There is a growing body of evidence that telehealth can not only expand access to services but also create cost savings, yet limited coverage impedes the expansion of telehealth services, the American Hospital Association wrote in a recent brief on telemedicine.

Geisinger’s MyCode Genomic Study Hits Milestone of 100K Participants

April 26, 2016
Geisinger Health System, based in Danville, Pa., announced this week that it has signed up 100,000 recruits for its major biobank and DNA sequencing study known as the MyCode Community Health Initiative.

Survey: Docs Frustrated with Manual Prior Authorization Processes

April 26, 2016
A survey of more than 300 physicians, clinical and administrative staff, and electronic health record (EHR) vendors conducted by Surescripts, the Arlington, Va.-based operator of a national clinical electronic network, revealed that providers are growing frustrated with manual processes around prior authorization.

Pages