Use of a patient completed iPad questionnaire to improve pre-operative assessment
Developments in healthcare technology could improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs. There is a need to facilitate communication and increase efficiency in surgical pre-assessment clinics. This study aimed to develop an iPad application to deliver an electronic patient questionnaire, and to evaluate its use in the pre-assessment environment. Software was developed, MyOp, for a standard iPad that mirrored the paper-based pre-assessment system, with features designed for ease of patient use and remote data transfer. A case–control study was conducted, comparing use of MyOp with paper-based practice, to evaluate feasibility and patient preference. Patients were offered the use of MyOp or paper-based system. Outcomes measured included time to complete iPad questionnaire, consultation duration, and a patient preference questionnaire. MyOp cost £3500 to develop. 104 individuals participated in the study, 53 MyOp and 51 controls. MyOp reduced the median consultation duration by 5.00 min. A reduction was seen in all subgroups except those aged over 70 or urology patients. Patients preferred to complete the form independently, using a touchpad or computer but expressed concerns about data security. Use of an electronic patient questionnaire reduces consultation time delivering greater efficiency of pre-assessment nurse time. Preconceived ideas about the use of technology in older age groups are likely inaccurate and less of a barrier than previously thought. Electronic pre-assessments could be used routinely to reduce demands on healthcare facilities, improve patient care, and triage patients prior to clinic attendance.
KeywordsSurgery Mobile application Preoperative assessment Patient questionnaire Handheld computers Electronics
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