The development of a collaborative telehealth model for improving the provision of healthcare and experiences of patients undergoing bariatric surgery


Bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, offers surgical solutions to patients who are morbidly obese; thereby preventing long-term complications. Morbid obesity can seriously compromise one’s mobility, making the travel to a tertiary care center a significant burden. Current MUHC bariatric services are exclusively provided inperson, requiring patients to travel approximately 9 times roundtrip within the course of their 18 months follow-up care. This 2-phase project has evaluated a home telemonitoring (HTM) program to enhance patients’ follow-up care, and improve their quality of life. For a period of 6 months, patients have answered specific questions concerning their health status, and entered certain parameters, such as vital signs, caloric intake, etc., allowing for the daily monitoring by the telenurse. Results of patient interviews revealed that patients, despite their unfamiliarity with HTM, viewed telenursing as a way to overcome the current travel-related burdens to the bariatric clinic in terms of time and cost. They conveyed feelings of frustration and fear, especially in times of urgency, as their multiple attempts to contact a clinician at the bariatric clinic were either delayed or unsuccessful. The most salient benefit reported by patients was the timely advice and care provided by the telenurse. The provision of tailored nursing interventions and the accessibility to a first-line resource professional empowered patients to exercise greater control over their recovery process. Despite the technical challenges and the need to improve the HTM platform, patients were open to the idea of integrating telenursing in mainstream services to better address their needs.