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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2014 Jul;96(5):348-51. doi: 10.1308/003588414X13946184900769.

Use of SMS and tablet computer improves the electronic collection of elective orthopaedic patient reported outcome measures.

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Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, UK.



Electronic patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) enable real time reporting back to the patient and medical team, comparison between similar patient cohorts and long-term cost effective outcome measurement. The primary objective of this three-phase pilot study was to measure uptake using a web-based PROM system following the introduction of two separate process improvements.


Eighty consecutive new elective orthopaedic patients in a single surgeon's practice were recruited for the study. Patients in Group 1 (n=26) received only a letter reminding them to complete a symptom score. Those in Group 2 (n=31) also received a reminder SMS (short message service) message via their mobile or home telephone and those in Group 3 (n=23) also had access to a tablet computer in clinic.


The mean patient age in Group 1 was 55 years (range: 24-80 years), in Group 2 it was 60 years (range: 23-85 years) and in Group 3 it was 58 years (range: 37-78 years) (p>0.05). Overall, 79% of patients had internet access, and 35% of Group 1, 55% of Group 2 and 74% of Group 3 recorded an electronic PROM score (p=0.02). In Group 3, 94% of patients listed for an operation completed an electronic PROM score (p=0.006).


Collecting PROM data effectively in everyday clinical practice is challenging. Electronic collection should meet that challenge and improve healthcare delivery but it is in its infancy. This pilot study shows that the combination of an SMS reminder and access to a Wi-Fi enabled tablet computer in the clinic setting enabled 94% of patients listed for an operation to complete a score on a web-based clinical outcomes system. Additional staff training and telephone call reminders may further improve uptake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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