Using e-health in perioperative care: a survey study investigating shortcomings in current perioperative care and possible future solutions

Eva Van der Meij, Esther V.A. Bouwsma, Baukje Van den Heuvel, H. Jaap Bonjer, Johannes R. Anema, Judith A.F. Huirne

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Background: An e-health care program has previously shown to have a positive effect on return to work, quality of life and pain in patients who underwent gynaecological surgery. Plausibly, providing the care program to a population undergoing other types of surgery will be beneficial as well. The objectives of this study are to evaluate patients’ opinions, needs and preferences regarding the information and guidance supplied to patients during the perioperative period, to investigate whether e-health may be of assistance and to explore if gender specific needs exist. Methods: A questionnaire was sent to all patients between 18 and 75 years (n = 362), who underwent various forms of abdominal surgery between August 2013 to September 2014 in a university hospital in the Netherlands. The questionnaire contained questions about the current situation in perioperative care and questions about patients’ preferences in an e-health care program. Gender differences were evaluated. Results: Two hundred seven participants (57.2%) completed the survey. The majority of the participants were relatively satisfied with the perioperative care they received (68.6%). Most reported shortcomings in perioperative care concerning the supply of information regarding the resumption of activities and guidance during the recovery course. An e-health care program was expected to be of added value in perioperative care by 78% of the participants; a website was reported as most useful. In particular practical functions on a website focusing on the preparation to surgery and monitoring after surgery were appraised to be highly valuable. Overall, women had slightly more needs for extra information and support during the perioperative course than men. Conclusions: In abdominal surgery, there is a need for an e-health care program, which should focus mainly on the supply of information about the resumption of activities as well as guidance in the postoperative course.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalBMC Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2017


  • Abdominal surgery
  • Adnexal surgery
  • Appendectomy
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Colectomy
  • E-health
  • Hernia inguinal surgery
  • Hysterectomy
  • Perioperative care
  • Recovery

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