A week before surgery, the patients of William Ryan Spiker, MD, a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon with University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City, start receiving daily text messages about their upcoming procedures. The messages spell out such things as the list of medications they need to stop taking seven days before surgery or remind them to coordinate home care for their recovery. These automated reminders continue until the night before surgery when a final pre-op text reminds patients to go NPO after midnight. The texts resume after surgery with messages based specifically on keeping patients informed about common post-op concerns and issues.
Dr. Spiker believes mobile technology and patient communication apps play a critical role in improving patient care. “If you care about patient adherence to post-op medication protocols, patient satisfaction and quality outcomes,” says he says, “you have to care about the technology that impacts those things.”