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Korean J Anesthesiol. 2017 Oct;70(5):542-549. doi: 10.4097/kjae.2017.70.5.542. Epub 2017 May 19.

Role of WhatsApp-based discussions in improving residents' knowledge of post-operative pain management: a pilot study.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India.



To provide a platform for the dissemination of basic knowledge of pain management, a WhatsApp group was created by residents and consultants. Common clinical scenarios, resident queries, and important instructions to be followed by residents with respect to running the Acute Pain Service were discussed in the group. This study evaluates the benefits of this interaction.


This study was approved by the hospital ethics board and was registered with the Clinical Trial Registry of India. Second- and third-year anesthesia residents were included in a WhatsApp group, along with consultants (board certified anesthesiologists with a special interest in pain). Pain knowledge assessment was performed pre- and post-discussion using a standard 22-point questionnaire. A feedback form, which included self-rated confidence scores (1-10, 10-most confident) and opinions about the 3-month WhatsApp discussion, was collected. Improvements in the documentation in clinical sheets post-discussion were also analyzed.


A total of 38 residents were included in the WhatsApp group. An improvement in the percentage of correct answers from 69.1% (pre-discussion) to 73.6% (post-discussion) was observed (P = 0.031). Improvements in the self-rated residents' confidence levels were also noted (P < 0.05). A total of 37 residents felt that the WhatsApp-based discussion was useful. Documentation of the details of epidural blockade in clinical sheets improved from 30% to 100%.


The WhatsApp discussion improved residents' knowledge and confidence levels, and also resulted in improved documentation of essential details in the clinical notes. This form of education is promising and should be explored in future studies.


Medical education; Pain management; Social media

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