Tonsillectomy is a common pediatric surgical procedure associated with significant health
benefits, however, long lists of instructions both pre- and post-surgery can sometimes cause
parents to neglect a crucial step. Parents often forget to ask for explanations of preoperative
procedures because they are concerned with the surgery itself and managing their child’s anxiety.
Post-surgery care is similarly bound up with checklists and guidelines that can confuse parents
rather than help them.
Text messaging (also called ‘short messaging service’- SMS) can help parents become an
active participant in the surgery process by acting as a checklist and gateway to professional
advice. Scheduling text messages for critical perioperative time points can help families adhere
to evidence-based care recommendations and reduce anxiety. SMS has been used in several
medical contexts including promoting treatment compliance, appointment reminders and
education. The ubiquitous and cheap nature of SMS makes it a cost-effective medium that is less
staff intensive, less intrusive and more standardized than most other forms of follow-up.
Improved at home care can translate into reduced school absences and less caregiver burden
from time lost at work and travel expenses. An automated SMS service can help manage the
postoperative course of patients without compromising patient safety or satisfaction. The purpose
of this implementation study is to implement and test a sustainable text-messaging service for
parents of children aged 3-14 years scheduled for tonsillectomy ± adenoidectomy at the IWK.
Tonsil-Text-to-Me will deliver highly-coordinated “just-in-time” care to help reduce healthcare
utilization and improve child and caregiver outcomes.