The efficacy of online communication platforms for plastic surgeons providing extended disaster relief

Kenneth L. Fan, Yash J. Avashia, Deniz Dayicioglu, Vincent Degennaro, Seth R. Thaller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Immediately after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, plastic surgeons provided disaster relief services through the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for 5 months. To improve surgical care and promote awareness of plastic surgery's role in humanitarian assistance, an online communication platform (OCP) was initiated. An OCP is a Web-based application combining Web blogging, picture uploading, news posting, and private messaging systems into a single platform. The purpose of this study was to analyze the use of OCP during disaster relief. METHODS: Surgeries performed during the period from January 13 to May 28, 2010, were documented. The OCP was established with 4 priorities: ease of use, multimedia integration, organization capabilities, and security. Web traffic was documented. A 17-question survey was administered to 18 plastic surgeons who used the OCP after 1 year to assess their attitudes and perceptions. RESULTS: From January 13 to May 28, 2010, 413 operations were performed at the field hospital. Of the overall number of procedures, 46.9% were performed by plastic surgery teams. In a year, beginning from January 12, 2011, the OCP had 1117 visits with 530 absolute unique visitors. Of 17 plastic surgeons, 71% responded that the OCP improved follow-up and continuity of care by debriefing rotating plastic surgery teams. One hundred percent claimed that the OCP conveyed the role of plastic surgeons with the public. CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrate the necessity of OCP during disaster relief. Online communication platform permitted secure exchange of surgical management details, follow-up, photos, and miscellaneous necessary recommendations. Posted experiences and field hospital progress assisted in generating substantial awareness regarding the significant role and contribution played by plastic surgeons in disaster relief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-462
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Extended disaster relief
  • HAITI earthquake
  • Online communication
  • Plastic surgery international mission
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)

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