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A mobile telephone-based SMS and internet survey system for self-assessment in Australian anaesthesia: experience of a single practitioner

Specialist Services Medical Group. Suite 3, Level 6, 457 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill Qld 4000

Summary

Self-assessment and audit in anaesthesia require a systematic approach to postoperative data collection. The increasing prevalence of mobile internet technology offers a new data collection method for anaesthetists. In this paper, a system for mobile internet data collection is described and the preliminary experience with its use is presented. The system was developed by the author and combined an open source survey application and a short message service (SMS) gateway to send SMS messages to patients after their anaesthesia and surgery. The messages requested patients to complete an online Quality of Recovery survey questionnaire if they had a smartphone. The results were immediately available. A preliminary survey of consenting patients with available mobile telephone numbers in a private practice was undertaken by the author. A total of 123 procedures were eligible for follow-up and survey requests were sent to 94 patients. Sixty-five surveys were completed. This represents 69% of surveys requested, demonstrating that mobile phone technology can be used to provide significant amounts of data for quality assurance. However, the implementation of a mobile internet data collection system requires consideration of privacy principles, security and ethical handling of data.

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