Design and development of Sur-Face: an interactive mobile app for educating patients regarding corrective surgery of facial deformities
Pulijala Y., Ma M., Ayoub A.
Corrective surgery of face, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a complex procedure performed to correct the underlying facial deformities. In case of elective surgeries like these, patients need to make voluntary decisions whether or not undergo the surgery. Hence, it is very important for them to understand the intricacy of the techniques and potential side effects of the surgery before they sign the consent form. Conventional methods of patient education using leaflet-based instructions were found to be ineffective in providing them the required information. Sur-Face, named after surgery of face is a healthcare app exploring a new dimension in patient education with the help of interactive 3D visualizations and serious gaming elements on a mobile platform. It demonstrates the surgical process and it’s after effects using high quality 3D animations. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of Sur-Face by comparing two methods of delivery of instructions: a mobile app with interactive 3D animations and an audio file containing only verbal instructions. To evaluate these methods, participant’s ability to understand and retain the instructions was analyzed using a questionnaire. The null hypothesis was that there would be no difference between the two methods of instructions. On analysis, participants of the ‘app’ group performed significantly better (p<0.0034) than the ‘voice’ group suggesting the role of interactive visualizations in improved understanding, intuitive knowledge transfer and communication. This paper describes the principles of design, development and potential advances of Sur-Face. Further it also explores the application of serious games in patient education and informed consent process.