There’s an App for That; Improving Communication during Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery

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Abstract

Introduction:

Waiting while a loved one is in surgery can be a very stressful time. Current processes for updating families vary from institution to institution. Providing timely and relevant updates, while important to the family, may strain a surgical team’s operational system. In our initial experience with the Electronic Access for Surgical Events (EASE) application (app), we tested the extent to which its implementation improved communication with patient families.

Methods:

We compared compliance data collected pre-EASE (December 2013 through September 2014) and post-EASE implementation (October 2014 until December 2015).

Results:

Although the pre-EASE compliance rate for bi-hourly updates was 46% (118/255) of cases, post-EASE implementation achieved a compliance rate of 97% (171/176). A 2-sample test of proportions confirmed a significant improvement in compliance after the introduction of EASE technology (P < 0.001). Analysis of the 177 noncompliant cases in the pre-EASE period indicated that noncompliance occurred most frequently at the end of the case (97/177, 55%) when the patient remained in the operating room > 2 hours after the last update to the family. We also observed noncompliance at the beginning of the case (46/177, 26%), when the patient arrived in the operating room > 2 hours before the time of the first update. Family satisfaction scores that rated their experience during surgery as “Very Good” improved from 80% pre-EASE implementation to 97% postimplementation. We sustained this improvement for 1 year.

Conclusions:

A mobile technology app (EASE) improved both frequency and compliance with surgical updates to families, which resulted in a statistically significant increase in family satisfaction scores.

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