The following is a summary of “Real-Time Measurement of Patient Reported Outcomes and Opioid Use Following Urologic Procedures using Automated Text Messaging” published in the December 2022 issue of Urology by Lee et al.

For a study, researchers sought to assess patient-reported pain levels after urologic operations and narcotic intake.

Following a urologic treatment, permission was obtained from adult patients, and information was gathered through postoperative day 28 in a sizable academic health system of tertiary care. The capacity to control pain, the amount of opioid usage expressed in oxycodone 5mg tablet equivalents, and the patient’s reported pain severity were all assessed using an automated text messaging platform. To provide representative estimates, outcomes were weighted based on the inverse likelihood of response.

The survey sent via text message received responses from 1,015 patients (51.8%). The average number of prescription tablets was 10 (IQR 6-10), while the average number of pills consumed was 2 (IQR 0-6). The median number of total pills consumed by postoperative day seven was 0. 38.4% of patients did not utilize any of the prescription opioids throughout the research period, and 60.1% (6,566) of all pills were left unopened. Across all urologic operations, with the exception of large open surgeries, 6 tablets would accommodate the 75th percentile of patient-reported usage.

There were indications of a major over-prescription of opioids compared to use and pain levels in this study using real-time assessment of opioid use and pain levels with text messaging. Text message data gathered from patients could assist doctors and policymakers in developing national standards for evidence-based best practices, individualized prescriptions, and collaborative decision-making to reduce opioid excess.