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Waiting on the O.R.: There's an app for that.

A free Sunnybrook operating-room app allows loved ones to track a patient’s surgical process in real time.

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IF YOU'VE EVER BEEN STUCK in a waiting room while a loved one undergoes surgery, you know updates can't come quickly enough.

To alleviate the stress, Sunnybrook staff developed an online tool to keep family and friends in the loop electronically. It's called OR Status.

Each patient gets a booking number upon registering for surgery which can be shared with family and friends. With this number, the patient's progress can be tracked in real time.

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Debra Anger, who registers patients for surgery, says the tool makes for a more caring environment for family members at the hospital. "It eases their anxiety because once the patient is behind closed doors, their anxiety starts," she says.

Cynthia Holm, Debra's teammate, can testify to the impact the tool has had for families. She says, "They can share this number with other members of the family who may not be present. Because it's hard for everyone to take a day off, to wait for four hours or a full day in a waiting room."

Families who have used OR Status are happy to have the new technology. Christine Andrews, who tracked her mother during a knee surgery, says, "You don't feel like you don't know what's going on until the surgeon comes out for you hours later. We knew that things were progressing and going fine, so that was nice."

Sunnybrook's OR Status tool can be found at sunnybrook.ca/orstatus

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