GREENWICH, Conn. -- Patients who are having ambulatory surgery at Greenwich Hospital can now choose to keep designated friends and family updated on their status via secure, one-way text messages from the patient healthcare team.
Launched in the hospital’s ambulatory surgery unit, the text update program is offered through FamilyTouch, a free HIPAA-compliant messaging service. Greenwich is the only hospital the Northeast currently offering FamilyTouch.
“Studies have proven that clear and open communication between patients, caregivers and family members plays an important role in an outstanding patient experience” says Christine Beechner, RN, vice president, patient and guest relations. “Receiving timely updates on a patient’s surgery status is immensely reassuring to loved ones, whether they’re in the waiting room or across the country.”
The text messages, available in English or Spanish, are private, secure and sent only to those specifically designated by the patient, prior to surgery. Each person on the list is assigned a separate personal identification number, which the patient then sends to them. Once verified, the staff will text updates, including, for example, when surgery has begun, when the patient arrives in recovery and when they are ready to be discharged.
Lorraine Love was one of the first to use the text update service when her husband Vincent underwent surgery at Greenwich recently. “So often, it’s not knowing where a person is in the process that’s so frustrating,” Love said. “It is so helpful to have this general information without having to pester the staff.”
Psychologist Dr. Andrew Tatarsky also saw value in the service while his wife, Wendy, was in surgery. “I appreciated being made aware of the progress at every step, so I wasn’t left just wondering," said Tatarsky. "It is very useful psychologically.”
The hospital plans to expand the service to include other departments in the future.