PURPOSE: The primary goal of this study was to (1) determine patients' access to and use of the Internet for healthrelated information before and after endoscopic atraumatic coronary artery bypass (Endo-ACAB) surgery, (2) investigate patients' methods of searching for such information, and (3) suggest future improvements for Internet-based patient education. The secondary goal of this study was to determine (1) patients' health-related quality of life and (2) degree of satisfaction following the Endo-ACAB procedure. METHODS: A follow-up study was conducted of 50 consecutive patients who had undergone Endo-ACAB procedures at the Center for Less Invasive Cardiac Surgery and Robotic Heart Surgery in Buffalo, New York. Study surveys were designed cooperatively by a communication scientist specializing in Internet studies and cardiac surgeons. Patients completed surveys over a period of 18 months, from January 2001 to June 2002. RESULTS: All 50 patients (100%) in the targeted study group completed the survey. Forty-four (88%) of these respondents reported having Internet access. The Web was cited as the most popular source of initial information on Endo-ACAB, with 36% of patients (18) first learning about the procedure through an Internet search. All 44 patients with Internet access used the Web as an additional source of information before surgery, but only 20% (7/35) did so after surgery. Most patients (91%, 40/44) felt that their surgeon should develop a Web site to detail the Endo-ACAB procedure. An investigation of patient quality of life showed that 96% of patients were not experiencing any symptoms related to t heir surgery. All 50 patients reported high degrees of satisfaction with the Endo-ACAB procedure, and 98% (49) said that they would recommend the surgery to someone else. CONCLUSION: A vast majority of patients are realizing the benefits of the Internet as a tool to educate themselves, both before and after surgery. The request by an overwhelming majority of patients that surgeons develop Web sites, however, shows that patients may not be completely satisfied with the current form or content of health sites on the Internet. Surgeons will see the benefits of Web-based education only when they ensure that their patients have access to adequate and credible health-related information. The early results of robotic surgery suggest a promising future and the need to investigate the role of the Internet in its growth.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Heart Surgery Forum|
|State||Published - 2003|