To explore the surgeon-perceived added value of mobile health technologies (mHealth), and determine facilitators of and barriers to implementing mHealth.
Summary Background Data:
Despite the growing popularity of mHealth and evidence of meaningful use of patient-generated health data in surgery, implementation remains limited.
This was an exploratory qualitative study following the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research. Purposive sampling was used to identify surgeons across the United States and Canada. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research informed development of a semi-structured interview guide. Video-based interviews were conducted (September-November 2020) and interview transcripts were thematically analyzed.
Thirty surgeons from eight specialties and six North American regions were interviewed. Surgeons identified opportunities to integrate mHealth data preoperatively (e.g., expectation-setting, decision-making) and during recovery (e.g., remote monitoring, earlier detection of adverse events) among higher-risk patients. Perceived advantages of mHealth data compared with surgical and patient-reported outcomes included easier data collection, higher interpretability and objectivity of mHealth data, and the potential to develop more patient-centered and functional measures of health. Surgeons identified a variety of implementation facilitators and barriers around surgeon- and patient buy-in, integration with electronic medical records, regulatory/reimbursement concerns, and personnel responsible for mHealth data. Surgeons described similar considerations regarding perceptions of mHealth among patients, including the potential to address or worsen existing disparities in surgical care.
These findings have the potential to inform the effective and equitable implementation of mHealth for the purposes of supporting patients and surgical care teams throughout the delivery of surgical care.