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The Web is proving to be an effective way to communicate to patients preoperatively, particularly for same-day surgery patients. Program managers suggest:
• Make sure the logistics, such as times and locations relevant to the procedure, are included.
• Include information on what food and medications are allowed before surgery.
• Understand the security implications of wanting medical evaluations online and that such an advancement requires additional resources.
• Pain management is a useful topic, as is wound care. Pain management can encompass what a patient can expect from different anesthetics, as well as how to manage pain postoperatively.
• Consider providing information on some of the most common procedures, if the volume justifies it.
• Photographs and biographies of the staff patients are likely to encounter often are popular. Make sure to get waivers from those involved.
• Make sure to keep the Web information and printed materials consistent, particularly if you provide on-line versions of patient education material.
• The Web function may be administered as a marketing function, and thus not adding any costs to clinical units.
• Use your existing experience to respond to the most frequently asked questions about your most common procedures.
• Don't use the Web to replace crucial personal contact, such as the call to the person the day before surgery.
• Denise M. Goldsmith, RN, MS, MPH, Program Manager of Nursing Informatics, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail: dgoldsmi@ caregroup. harvard.edu.
• Tammy Krueger, BSN, LNC, Executive Director, Bay Care Ambulatory Services, Bay Care Health System, 2733 S. Ridge Road, Green Bay, WI 54304. Telephone: (920) 490-9046. Fax: (920) 405-8007. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.