Background:Patients undergoing esophagectomy are at serious risk of developing postoperative complications. To support early recognition of clinical deterioration, wireless sensor technologies that enable continuous vital signs monitoring in a ward setting are emerging.
Objective:This study explored nurses’ and surgeons’ expectations of the potential effectiveness and impact of continuous wireless vital signs monitoring in patients admitted to the ward after esophagectomy.
Methods:Semistructured interviews were conducted at 3 esophageal cancer centers in the Netherlands. In each center, 2 nurses and 2 surgeons were interviewed regarding their expectations of continuous vital signs monitoring for early recognition of complications after esophagectomy. Historical data of patient characteristics and clinical outcomes were collected in each center and presented to the local participants to support estimations on clinical outcome.
Results:The majority of nurses and surgeons expected that continuous vital signs monitoring could contribute to the earlier recognition of deterioration and result in earlier treatment for postoperative complications, although the effective time gain would depend on patient and situational factors. Their expectations regarding the impact of potential earlier diagnosis on clinical outcomes varied. Nevertheless, most caregivers would consider implementing continuous monitoring in the surgical ward to support patient monitoring after esophagectomy.
Conclusions:Caregivers expected that wireless vital signs monitoring would provide opportunities for early detection of postoperative complications in patients undergoing esophagectomy admitted to the ward and prevent sequelae under certain circumstances. As the technology matures, clinical outcome studies will be necessary to objectify these expectations and further investigate overall effects on patient outcome.