Surgical prehabilitation using mobile health coaching in patients with obesity: A pilot study
© The Author(s) 2020. Many patients spend months waiting for elective procedures, and many have significant modifiable risk factors that could contribute to an increased risk of perioperative morbidity and mortality. The minimal direct contact that usually occurs with healthcare professionals during this period represents a missed opportunity to improve patient health and surgical outcomes. Patients with obesity comprise a large proportion of the surgical workload but are under-represented in prehabilitation studies. Our study piloted a mobile phone based, multidisciplinary, prehabilitation programme for patients with obesity awaiting elective surgery. A total of 22 participants were recruited via the Wollongong Hospital pre-admissions clinic in New South Wales, Australia, and 18 completed the study. All received the study intervention of four text messages per week for six months. Questionnaires addressing the self-reported outcome measures were performed at the start and completion of the study. Forty percent of participants lost weight and 40% of smokers decreased their cigarette intake over the study. Sixty percent reported an overall improved health score. Over 80% of patients found the programme effective for themselves, and all recommended that it be made available to other patients. The cost was A$1.20 per patient per month. Our study showed improvement in some of the risk factors for perioperative morbidity and mortality. With improved methods to increase enrolment, our overall impression is that text message–based mobile health prehabilitation may be a feasible, cost-effective and worthwhile intervention for patients with obesity.