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Telemed J E Health. 2009 Jul-Aug;15(6):531-7. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2009.0003.

Mobile phone-based telemedicine system for the home follow-up of patients undergoing ambulatory surgery.

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Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.


A pilot study was done to address the efficacy of a General Packet Radio Service mobile phone-based telemedicine system used to improve follow-up after ambulatory surgery. The method involves sending images of surgical wounds or other areas from the patient's home, to assess local complications and avoid unnecessary hospital visits. Ninety-six (N = 96) patients were enrolled in the study. The phone used was a Nokia 6600, which provides images in Joint Photographic Experts Group format. These images were sent via e-mail and visualized on a standard 17-inch screen of a personal computer. After the follow-up period, self-reported patient satisfaction was assessed by analyzing the replies to a 9-item questionnaire. Thirty of the 96 patients (31.3%) reported local problems including: hematoma in 20 (66.7%) patients, surgical bandage blood-stained in 7 (23.3%), exudates in 1 (3.3%), allergic skin reactions in 1 (3.3%), and bandage too tight in 1 (3.3%). In total, 225 photographs were evaluated by 3 physicians. In all cases, it was possible to identify and assess the postoperative problem with consensus among the 3 physicians. Images served to resolve patients' concerns in 20 individuals (66.7%). In 10 patients (33.3%), concerns were satisfied but it was suggested that follow-up images be sent in the following days. Only 1 patient (3.3%) was asked to visit the hospital. The telemedicine system proposed increases the efficiency of home follow-up to ambulatory surgery, avoids unnecessary hospital visits, and clearly improves patient satisfaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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