Sarasota Memorial Health Care System WWSB ABC 7 news story

Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s OR team has a secure surgical app, that uses text messaging, pictures, even video to communicate with family, and friends of patients who are undergoing surgery.

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Sarasota Memorial Health Care System WWSB ABC 7 news story

The EASE App allows a nurse or circulator in the operating room to send reassuring texts During key points in the surgery to designated friends and family. The short updates are sent about every 30 minutes, just enough to help ease wait time worries.

The brief text messages are designed to keep those waiting in the loop, and aware of the progress. The may include things like, “Safely off to sleep without any problems … doctor inserting new valve … everything going well …”

The messages are delivered via a secure app called EASE (Electronic Access to Surgical Events), a HIPAA-compliant program that allows a nurse in the operating room to send secure texts to designated family members in the waiting room, or wherever they have a smart phone or device and cellular or wireless Internet access. The messages are one-way, and like Snapchat, disappear after 60-seconds to protect patient information.

“We know how hard it is to sit and wait and wonder…this is our way of staying connected with families and helping to reassure them until we can be there in person,” said Michelle Tingle, MSN, RN, clinical manager of Pre-Operative Services at SMH.

Sarasota Memorial is one of only a handful of hospitals offering the EASE app in Florida and across the nation. The app is free to consumers and hospitals pay a membership fee based on their size and surgery volume. Since the pilot program began at SMH in April 2016, more than 30-surgeons at SMH have signed on, and to date have used the app in more than a thousand procedures. Feedback from patients and families has been overwhelmingly positive, with more than 97-percent of those surveyed saying it enhanced the care, compassion and communication they felt that day.

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