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The value of WhatsApp communication in paediatric burn care

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  • Additional Information
    • Affiliation:
      a The Burn Unit, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
      b The Division of Paediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Cape Town, South Africa
      c The Ross Tilley burn Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada
      d The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Canada
    • Keywords:
      Telehealth
      Telemedicine
      Ethics
      Access to care
      Information technology
      Developing world
      Medical infrastructure and technology
      Burns
    • Abstract:
      Highlights •Telemedicine improves burn care delivery in large provinces in developed countries.•WhatsApp is a widely available, user friendly, encrypted smartphone application.•WhatsApp use in the Western Cape province of South Africa reduces unnecessary referrals and optimises scarce resource allocation.•WhatsApp optimises prehospital communication and facilitates continuing medical education.
    • Abstract:
      Methods A retrospective review was undertaken of all consultations using WhatsApp over an 18-month period, received by the burn centre’s two senior medical practitioners. The specific origin and nature of the telemedicine requests for advice, transfer or follow-up were collected, as were data relating to the demographics of the patients, the aetiology, mechanism and extent of the burn injury. The impact of the system of communication in terms of reductions in admissions and clinic visits was assessed, and a cost analysis was undertaken. Feedback was also obtained from those health practitioners regularly using the service.
    • Abstract:
      Results 838 communications occurred during the study period, which included 1562 distinct clinical queries. 486 interactions (58%) originated from within the hospital, the majority of which were initiated by surgeons in training or burn nurse practitioners. 352 (42%) consultations were from outside the hospital. Queries related to the full spectrum of burn care, including emergency management and stabilization, triage and transfer, the need for escharotomy, fluid resuscitation, wound care, the timing and nature of surgical intervention, as well as follow-up and rehabilitation.While no significant changes in the number of surgical interventions or admissions were observed when compared to the five years prior to the intervention, outpatient visits reduced significantly during the study period. It was estimated that over 150 unnecessary admissions were also avoided as a result of the triage made possible by WhatsApp, which translated into considerable cost saving for the institution.
    • Abstract:
      Discussion Incorporating WhatsApp technology into the daily processes of burn care has significantly improved the quality of paediatric burn care referrals to specialist burn services. Specifically, WhatsApp has contributed to reductions in unnecessary referrals and outpatient visits, facilitated opportunities for continuing medical education, improved the care of major burn injuries through more effective prehospital communication, and enabled greater allocation of scarce specialist resources at the burn centre. This study motivates for the wider application of WhatsApp for burn care referrals, especially in developing countries.
    • ISSN:
      0305-4179
    • Accession Number:
      10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005
    • Accession Number:
      S0305417917306083
    • Copyright:
      © 2017 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI. All rights reserved.
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      MARTINEZ, R. et al. The value of WhatsApp communication in paediatric burn care. Burns, [s. l.], v. 44, n. 4, p. 947–955, 2018. DOI 10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edselp&AN=S0305417917306083&custid=s8280428. Acesso em: 14 jul. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Martinez R, Rogers AD, Numanoglu A, Rode H. The value of WhatsApp communication in paediatric burn care. Burns. 2018;44(4):947-955. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005.
    • AMA11:
      Martinez R, Rogers AD, Numanoglu A, Rode H. The value of WhatsApp communication in paediatric burn care. Burns. 2018;44(4):947-955. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005
    • APA:
      Martinez, R., Rogers, A. D., Numanoglu, A., & Rode, H. (2018). The value of WhatsApp communication in paediatric burn care. Burns, 44(4), 947–955. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Martinez, R., A.D. Rogers, A. Numanoglu, and H. Rode. 2018. “The Value of WhatsApp Communication in Paediatric Burn Care.” Burns 44 (4): 947–55. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005.
    • Harvard:
      Martinez, R. et al. (2018) ‘The value of WhatsApp communication in paediatric burn care’, Burns, 44(4), pp. 947–955. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005.
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Martinez, R, Rogers, AD, Numanoglu, A & Rode, H 2018, ‘The value of WhatsApp communication in paediatric burn care’, Burns, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 947–955, viewed 14 July 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Martinez, R., et al. “The Value of WhatsApp Communication in Paediatric Burn Care.” Burns, vol. 44, no. 4, June 2018, pp. 947–955. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Martinez, R., A.D. Rogers, A. Numanoglu, and H. Rode. “The Value of WhatsApp Communication in Paediatric Burn Care.” Burns 44, no. 4 (June 1, 2018): 947–55. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.005.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Martinez R, Rogers AD, Numanoglu A, Rode H. The value of WhatsApp communication in paediatric burn care. Burns [Internet]. 2018 Jun 1 [cited 2020 Jul 14];44(4):947–55. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edselp&AN=S0305417917306083&custid=s8280428