The role of smart devices in post-operative care

02 October, Tim Burton

Mr Pramit Khetrapal is looking at how to use iPhones and smart devices to monitor patients after they have left hospital following a major surgery. It could lead to a more seamless transition from hospital to home for patients.

PramitWhat is the project?

Around 60-70% of patients who have a radical cystectomy will go on to have complications in the three months following surgery and around 15-20% of those patients will encounter major complications that require more surgery or intensive care admission.

Pramit is looking at a way to accurately monitor patients once they’ve returned home so if patients do encounter complications, they can be flagged and addressed before they become serious and require invasive procedures.

“A lot of the time patients will begin to show signs of complications physiologically before they begin to feel unwell and present at their GP. By monitoring temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, and step count, we believe that we’ll be able to detect problems in patients even after they’ve left the hospital and before they become too serious.”

How does it work?

Pramit is running tests into whether these kits will be easy for patients to use and whether the data collected will be effective in identifying complications.

To achieve this, a trial will be run which sees a section of 50 patients return home with the remote monitoring kits. The kits consist of iPhones, smart watches, blood pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters, and will allow a hospital to monitor a patient in the community.

The aim of this trial is to determine the ability of patients to engage with the devices, and whether this data will be useful in highlighting complications at an earlier stage. Pramit hopes that patients will be more likely to have their complications picked up early.

What is this research going to mean for urologists in the years to come?

In Pramit’s own words, “It will allow operating surgeons more autonomy over the after care of their patients once they return to the community. As well as this, it will help urologists in district general hospitals to have better contact with the surgeons who performed the surgery at a tertiary centre.”

Whilst the cost of the kit is not insignificant, Pramit believes that it will be cost effective due to the money that will be saved by not needing to perform extra surgeries. A future study will aim to answer the question regarding cost-effectiveness.

What will this mean for patients?

Primarily, it will be peace of mind. After receiving such excellent hospital care after their surgery, returning home can be a worrying time for patients. With these kits, they should receive peace of mind through knowing that their doctors are still monitoring their health closely.

Ultimately, it will also mean less chance of a further operation and higher chance of a healthy post-operative life. It has the potential to improve the lives of patients undergoing radical cystectomy, and other major surgeries.

 

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