Perceptions on the Use of Wearable Sensors and Continuous Monitoring in Surgical Patients: Interview Study Among Surgical Staff

JMIR Form Res. 2022 Feb 11;6(2):e27866. doi: 10.2196/27866.


Background: Continuous vital sign monitoring by using wearable sensors may result in the earlier detection of patient deterioration and sepsis. Few studies have explored the perspectives of surgical team members on the use of such sensors in surgical patients.

Objective: This study aims to understand the views of surgical team members regarding novel wearable sensors for surgical patients.

Methods: Wearable sensors that monitor vital signs (heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature) continuously were used by acute surgical patients. The opinions of surgical staff who were treating patients with these sensors were collated through in-depth semistructured interviews to thematic saturation. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed via thematic analysis.

Results: A total of 48 interviews were performed with senior and junior surgeons and senior and junior nurses. The main themes of interest that emerged from the interviews were (1) problems with current monitoring, (2) the anticipated impact of wearables on patient safety, (3) the impact on staff, (4) the impact on patients overall, (5) potential new changes, and (6) the future and views on technology.

Conclusions: Overall, the feedback from staff who were continuously monitoring surgical patients via wearable sensors was positive, and relatively few concerns were raised. Surgical staff members identify problems with current monitoring and anticipate that sensors will both improve patient safety and be the future of monitoring.

Keywords: continuous monitoring; interview; mobile phone; sensors; staff feedback.