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Minerva Chirurgica 2020 Sep 25

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4733.20.08454-0

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

WhatsApp video call communication between oncological patients and their families during Covid-19 outbreak

Bruno NARDO 1, 2 , Marialuisa LUGARESI 2, Marco DONI 1, Ignazio VULCANO 1, Domenico PICCIONE 1, Daniele PAGLIONE 2, Gaetano STABILE 1

1 General and Oncological Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Regional Annunziata Hospital, Cosenza, Italy; 2 Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy


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BACKGROUND: On March 8th, 2020 the Italian Government implemented extraordinary measures to limit COVID-19 viral transmission. The aim of the study was to verify if the use of WhatsApp facilitates communication, improves health information, perception of safe and security, reduce emotional stress during the COVID-19 emergency.
METHODS: In this study we identified two period, in the pre-COVID 1-month period (February 9th-March 8th, 2020) 34 patients underwent elective surgery for malignancies (21) and benign (13) diseases, respectively. We daily given to families of patients clinical information face-to-face in the ward regarding their postoperative course. In the post-COVID 1-month period (March 9th - April 5th, 2020), 15 patients with malignancies were treated. In this period, patients and their families given a consent form to let the surgical team to communicate clinical data using WhatsApp. At the end of the study period we collected a satisfaction anonymous questionnaire of both patients and families.
RESULTS: Statistically significant differences were observed in the pre- vs post- COVID period regarding the number of surgical procedures (p = 0.004). In the post-COVID period, the satisfaction questionnaire showed a good reliability (Cronbach’s alpha 0.912) and a high percentage of satisfaction of patients and their families for the adopted communication tool, reassurance, privacy protection and reduction of emotional stress.
CONCLUSIONS: WhatsApp is a safe and fast technology, it offers the opportunity to facilitate clinical communications, reduce stress, improve patient security, obtain clinical and psychological positive implications in patient’s care preserving their privacy in the COVID-19 emergency period.


KEY WORDS: COVID infection; Malignancies; Surgery; WhatsApp communication

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