Efficacy of Short Message Service Text Messaging Interventions for Postoperative Pain Management: Systematic Review

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2021 Jun 16;9(6):e20199. doi: 10.2196/20199.


BACKGROUND: Addiction to opiates and synthetic opioids poses a major threat to public health worldwide, with pharmaceutical opioids prescribed to manage pain constituting the main problem. To counteract this threat, suitable pain management strategies should be implemented in health care. Monitoring pain management seems to be feasible using telemedicine with a certain degree of resource intensity and digitization. As a communication channel for this type of monitoring, SMS appears to be a valid alternative.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this systematic literature review was to (1) provide information on the state of research regarding postoperative pain management via SMS, (2) establish a basic understanding of SMS-based pain management, and (3) provide insight into the feasibility of these management strategies. The research question was as follows: Is postoperative pain management feasible and effective utilizing SMS?

METHODS: A systematic literature review was performed mainly following the PRISMA guidelines and another guide on performing a systematic literature review for information systems-related research. A search string was developed based on the objectives and research question, and eight databases were searched.

RESULTS: The initial search resulted in 2083 records, which could be narrowed down by applying various exclusion criteria. Thereby, 11 articles were identified as relevant, which were accordingly analyzed and evaluated by full-text screening. In all articles, pain management interventions were performed using SMS communication between health care professionals and patients or their legal guardians. A prospective approach was predominantly chosen as the study design (91%) with the leading research objective of determining the intervention’s feasibility (73%). The primary reason for sending SMS messages was to monitor patients (64%). Overall, the use of SMS improved adherence, acceptance, and satisfaction regarding postoperative pain management. With an average response rate of approximately 89.5% (SD 3.8%), the reliability of SMS as a communication and monitoring tool was further emphasized. This response rate is significantly higher than that for email interventions (66.63%, P<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a comprehensive picture of the current status on postoperative pain management by SMS. Communication via SMS was beneficial in all interventions, even preoperative. Six SMS interventions could be certified by the respective institutional review board and three were Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant. Therefore, the results of this study could be leveraged to address the opioid epidemic. Overall, the research question could be confirmed. Future research should extend this systematic literature review regarding preoperative pain management. Based on these findings, a pre- and postoperative communication model should be developed to address the opioid epidemic effectively.

PMID:34132646 | DOI:10.2196/20199