Using wearables, mobile devices to measure surgery outcomes reduces strain on ERs, study finds

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Complications following a discharge after surgery are common, but mobile devices and wearables present an opportunity to mitigate these risks and reduce strain on emergency departments, according to a Nov. 12 report published in Nature Digital Medicine.

For its study, researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom examined studies involving patients who underwent surgery involving a skin incision and outcomes were measured with digital health interventions. There were 6,969 articles screened and 44 included in the research. More than half the studies were conducted in the United States.

Four study insights:

  1. Researchers found that acquiring wound data from images, patient-reported outcome data or continuous activity data from wearables improved the assessment of recovery after an operation.

  2. Mobile phone interventions, such as recording patient feedback or post-op recovery tracking, frequently reduced the need for in-person reviews and reduced the inappropriate use of emergency rooms, according to the report.

  3. Using messaging and sending photos helped patients and physicians catch post-op complications more quickly, according to the study.

  4. Digital health interventions offer opportunities to improve patient engagement, support and self-care, according to the study. However, only one study used mobile devices and wearables to measure the clinician-patient partnership.

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