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Wireless wearables for postoperative surveillance on surgical wards: a survey of 1158 anaesthesiologists in Western Europe and the USA

February 23, 2022

Background:
Several continuous monitoring solutions, including wireless wearable sensors, are available or being developed to improve patient surveillance on surgical wards. We designed a survey to understand the current perception and expectations of anaesthesiologists who, as perioperative physicians, are increasingly involved in postoperative care.
Methods:
The survey was shared in 40 university hospitals from Western Europe and the USA.
Results:
From 5744 anaesthesiologists who received the survey link, there were 1158 valid questionnaires available for analysis. Current postoperative surveillance was mainly based on intermittent spot-checks of vital signs every 4e6 h in the USA (72%) and every 8e12 h in Europe (53%). A majority of respondents (91%) considered that continuous monitoring of vital signs should be available on surgical wards and that wireless sensors are preferable to tethered systems (86%). Most respondents indicated that oxygen saturation (93%), heart rate (80%), and blood pressure (71%) should be contin- uously monitored with wrist devices (71%) or skin adhesive patches (54%). They believed it may help detect clinical deterioration earlier (90%), decrease rescue interventions (59%), and decrease hospital mortality (54%). Opinions diverged regarding the impact on nurse workload (increase 46%, decrease 39%), and most respondents considered that the biggest implementation challenges are economic (79%) and connectivity issues (64%).
Conclusion:
Continuous monitoring of vital signs with wireless sensors is wanted by most anaesthesiologists from university hospitals in Western Europe and in the USA. They believe it may improve patient safety and outcome, but may also be challenging to implement because of cost and connectivity issues.
Keywords:
anaesthesiology; failure to rescue; monitoring; patient safety; postoperative complications; surgery; wearables