(HealthDay News) — Smartphone-delivered wound follow-up increases the odds of surgical site infection (SSI) diagnosis within seven days after emergency abdominal surgery, according to a study published online Nov. 18 in npj Digital Medicine.
Kenneth A. McLean, M.B.Ch.B., from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues enrolled 492 adult emergency abdominal surgery patients to routine postoperative care or additional access to a smartphone-delivered wound assessment tool for 30 days postoperatively (269 and 223, respectively). Patients reported SSI symptoms; on postoperative days 3, 7, and 15, wound photographs were requested.
The researchers found that the 30-day SSI rate did not differ significantly between the groups (9.4 and 7.4% in the smartphone and routine care groups, respectively). Overall, 32.3% of patients in the smartphone group did not utilize the tool. Patients in the intervention group had no significant difference in the time-to-diagnosis for SSI (−2.5 days; 95 percent confidence interval, −6.6 to 1.6; P = 0.225). However, the odds of diagnosis within seven postoperative days were 3.7-fold higher in the smartphone group (95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 13.51; P = 0.043). The smartphone group also had significantly reduced community care attendances, significantly better experiences accessing care, and similar hospital attendance.
“These approaches provide reassurance — after all, most of us don’t know what a normally healing wound looks like a few weeks after surgery,” a coauthor said in a statement. “We hope that picking up wound problems early can result in treatments that limit complications.”