journal of biomedical informatics
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Digital Health Tools for Preoperative Stress Reduction in Integrated Care

Author(s): Angelina Kouroubali*, Haridimos Kondylakis, Evangelos Karadimas, Georgios Kavlentakis, Akis Simos, Rosa María Baños, Rocío Herrero Camarano, George Papagiannakis, Paul Zikas, Yannis Petrakis, Alba Jiménez Díaz, Santiago Hors-Fraile, Kostas Marias and Dimitrios G. Katehakis

Background: Patients undergoing elective surgery often face symptoms of anxiety and stress. Healthcare systems have limited time and resources to provide individualized stress relief interventions. Research has shown that stress relief interventions and educational resources can improve health outcomes and speed recovery.

Objectives: Digital health tools can provide valuable assistance in stress relief and educational support to patients and family. This paper reports on the design of a novel digital health infrastructure for improving the health condition of patients, during the care path, using virtual reality (VR) and other information and communication technologies (ICT).

Methods: Digital tools developed and integrated into a platform of modules that can be used by patients before but also after an operation, enabling better self-management and self-empowerment.

Results: The designed platform aims at improving the knowledge of patients about their condition, providing stress relief tools, helping them adhere to treatment, as well as providing for effective communication channels between patients and clinicians.

Conclusion: The proposed solution has the potential to improve physical and emotional reactions to stress and increase the levels of calmness and a sense of wellbeing. Information provided through the platform enhances health literacy and digital competence, and increases the participation of the patient in the decision-making process. Integration with third-party applications can facilitate the exchange of important information between patients and physicians as well as between personal applications and clinical health systems.

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