Published online Sep 27, 2017. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v9.i9.193
Peer-review started: February 8, 2017
First decision: March 9, 2017
Revised: August 23, 2017
Accepted: September 3, 2017
Article in press: September 4, 2017
Published online: September 27, 2017
To evaluate the feasibility of a text-messaging system to remotely monitor and support patients after discharge following elective colorectal surgery, within an enhanced recovery protocol.
Florence (FLO) is a National Health Service telehealth solution utilised for monitoring chronic health conditions, such as hypertension, using text-messaging. New algorithms were designed to monitor the well-being, basic physiological observations and any patient-reported symptoms, and provide support messages to patients undergoing colorectal surgery within an enhanced recovery after surgery protocol for 30 d after discharge. All interactions with FLO and physiological readings were recorded and patients were invited to provide feedback.
Over a four-week period, 16 out of 17 patients used the FLO telehealth service at home. These patients did not receive telephone follow-up at three days, as per our standard protocol, unless they reported being unwell or did not make use of the technology. Three patients were readmitted within 30 d, and two of these were identified as being unwell by FLO prior to readmission. No adverse events attributable to the use of the technology were encountered.
The utilisation of telehealth in the early follow-up of patients who have undergone major colorectal surgery after discharge is feasible. The use of this technology may assist in the early recognition and management of complications after discharge.
Core tip: Remote follow-up in the immediate post-discharge period utilising telehealth is feasible, and may help identify patients at risk of developing complications sooner, leading to earlier proactive management.