Electronic Reminders Can Help Patients Prevent Surgical Site Infections | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology 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

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.

Survey: By 2019, 60% of Medicare Revenues will be Tied to Risk

Medical groups and health systems that are members of AMGA (the American Medical Group Association) expect that nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare will be from risk-based products by 2019, according to the results from a recent survey.

83% of Physicians Have Experienced a Cyber Attack, Survey Finds

Eighty-three percent of physicians in a recent survey said that they have experienced some sort of cyber attack, such as phishing and viruses.

Community Data Sharing: Eight Recommendations From San Diego

A learning guide focuses on San Diego’s experience in building a community health information exchange and the realities of embarking on a broad community collaboration to achieve better data sharing.

HealthlinkNY’s Galanis to Step Down as CEO

Christina Galanis, who has served as president and CEO of HealthlinkNY for the past 13 years, will leave her position at the end of the year.

Email-Related Cyber Attacks a Top Concern for Providers

U.S. healthcare providers overwhelmingly rank email as the top source of a potential data breach, according to new research from email and data security company Mimecast and conducted by HIMSS Analytics.