Care guide for Pectus Excavatum surgery

Knowledge of what is to come helps manage the pain

Adolescents undergoing surgery for pectus excavatum benefit from a digital care guide. The principle of receiving the right information at the right time helps the young patients manage both pre and post- operative care. Evaluations point to better pain management through being well-informed. Just as the department has saved staff time and has increased daily surgeries due to better-prepared patients. The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, offers young patients undergoing surgery for pectus excavatum a digital care guide to help manage pre and post-operative care. The guide is provided through an app, which the patients can access through a smartphone or tablet. The digital care guide offers an overview through information, calendar, and messaging function. The staff provides pre-op and post-op information through, e.g., a short video, graphic, or text at a time, when it is relevant for the specific patient. According to an evaluation from DEFACTUM, a part of Corporate Quality in Region Midt, Denmark, patients feel calmer and safer due to being better informed. Almost all patients in the evaluation use notifications because the time between consultations and operation can be lengthy, increasing the patient's risk of forgetting what to do. With the digital care guide, the patients receive information when relevant. For pectus excavatum patients, this can, e.g., be regarding preparations before surgery, rendering the information easier to remember. In the evaluation, the young patients report that they feel safe going into surgery due to the information in the app As an additional benefit, the digital care guide has improved the utilization of resources, making it possible to increase daily surgeries from three to four.

Increasing health literacy

It is essential to be well-prepared for surgery for pectus excavatum, and the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, previously had problems with a lengthy pre-op appointment, where the young patients quickly forgot most of the vast amount of information. With the digital care guide, the patients show up for surgery well prepared, with a high level of health literacy regarding the surgery, recovery, medical treatment, and when to contact the department. Therefore the patients no longer need the pre-op appointment. They are informed through the app, and department resources are spared and can benefit other patients.

Get to know the patient

The digital patient guide not only provides information for the patients. Through a staff-directed feature, real-time data on whether the patient skips some information or repeatedly returns to read and watch a specific topic again flow to the department. Accurate knowledge of the patient's readiness for surgery helps promote health equity since some patients need more attention and help than others.

Allan Juhl
Allan Juhl

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