Study: E-Reminders Can Boost Adherence to Presurgery Instructions

August 5, 2014 in News

Electronic reminders can effectively prompt patients to follow a preadmission routine aimed at reducing the risk of surgical site infections, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, FierceHealthIT reports.


About 20% to 31% of all hospital-acquired infections are surgical site infections. In addition, SSIs account for one-third of the $9.8 billion in annual costs for hospital-acquired infections, according to FierceHealthIT (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 8/4).

According to the study, about 400,000 SSIs occur annually, resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths per year.

Surgical patients can reduce the risk of SSIs by taking antiseptic showers one to two days before admission to the hospital. However, lead author Charles Edmiston said many patients forget to follow the preadmission routine (American College of Surgeons release, 8/1).

Study Details

For the study, Edmiston and other researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin randomly divided 80 healthy participants into four groups:

  • Group A1, which was instructed to take two showers and received electronic reminders to do so;
  • Group A2, which was instructed to take two showers with no reminders;
  • Group B1, which was instructed to take three showers and received electronic reminders to do so; and
  • Group B2 which was instructed to take three showers with no reminders (FierceHealthIT, 8/4).

The participants could receive electronic reminders by email, text or phone call. Text messages were the most popular form of reminders among the volunteers, with 80% popularity (ACS release, 8/1).

The researchers analyzed participants’ skin-surface concentrations of antiseptic within three hours of their final shower.

Study Findings

Researchers found that participants in the two groups that received electronic reminders had 66% and 67% higher average concentrations of antiseptic, respectively, than participants in the other groups. The findings indicate that the groups that received electronic reminders adhered to the preadmission routine at a higher rate (FierceHealthIT, 8/4).

Edmiston said further research is needed to determine whether electronic reminders and better compliance help reduce SSI rates (ACS release, 8/1).

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