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Journal Description

JMIR Perioperative Medicine (JPOP, Editor-in-chief: John F. Pearson MD, Harvard Medical School) is an open access journal focusing on technologies, medical devices, apps, engineering, informatics and patient education for perioperative medicine and nursing, including pre- and post-operative education, preventative interventions and clinical care for surgery and anaesthesiology patients, as well as informatics applications in anesthesia, surgery, critical care and pain medicine.

We are read by clinicians and patients alike and have (as all JMIR journals) a focus on readable and applied science reporting the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews).

During a limited period of time, there are no fees to publish in this journal. Articles are carfully copyedited and XML-tagged, ready for submission in PubMed Central.

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Recent Articles:

  • Source: Unsplash; Copyright: Harlie Raethel; URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/ouyjDk-KdfY; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Economic Advantages of Telehealth and Virtual Health Practitioners: Return on Investment Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Telehealth is a disruptive modality that challenges the traditional model of having a clinician or patient physically present for an appointment. The benefit is that it offers the opportunity to redesign the way services are offered. For instance, a virtual health practitioner can provide videoconference consultations while being located anywhere in the world that has internet. A virtual health practitioner also obviates the issues of attracting a specialist medical workforce to rural areas, and allows the rural health service to control the specialist services that they offer. Objective: The aim of this research was to evaluate the economic effects of 3 different models of care on rural and metropolitan hospital sites. The models of care examined were patient travel, telehealth using videoconferencing, and employment of a virtual health practitioner by a rural site. Methods: Using retrospective activity data for 3 years, a return on investment (ROI) analysis was undertaken from the perspective of a rural site and metropolitan partner site using a telehealth orthopedic fracture clinic as an example. Further analysis was conducted to calculate the number of patients that would be required to attend the clinic in each model of care for the sites to break even. Results: The only service model that resulted in a positive ROI for the rural site over the 3-year period was the virtual health practitioner model. The breakeven analysis demonstrated that the rural site required the lowest number of patients to recoup costs in the virtual health practitioner model of care. The rural site was unable to recoup its costs within the travel model due to the lack of opportunity for reimbursement for services and the requirement to cover the cost of travel for patients. Conclusions: Our model demonstrated that rural health care providers can increase their ROI by employing a virtual health practitioner.

  • Source: flickr; Copyright: Jeff Kubina; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kubina/443743095; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Impact of Intensive Care Unit Readmissions on Patient Outcomes and the Evaluation of the National Early Warning Score to Prevent Readmissions: Literature Review

    Abstract:

    Background: Intensive care unit (ICU) readmissions have been shown to increase a patient’s in-hospital mortality and length of stay (LOS). Despite this, no methods have been set in place to prevent readmissions from occurring. Objective: The aim of this literature review was to evaluate the impact of ICU readmission on patient outcomes and to evaluate the effect of using a risk stratification tool, the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), on ICU readmissions. Methods: A database search was performed on PubMed, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Google Scholar, and ProQuest. In the initial search, 2028 articles were retrieved; after inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, 12 articles were ultimately used in this literature review. Results: This literature review found that patients readmitted to the ICU have an increased mortality rate and LOS at the hospital. The sample sizes in the reviewed studies ranged from 158 to 745,187 patients. Readmissions were most commonly associated with respiratory issues about 18% to 59% of the time. The NEWS has been shown to detect early clinical deterioration in a patient within 24 hours of transfer, with a 95% CI of 0.89 to 0.94 (P<.001), a sensitivity of 93.6% , and a specificity of 82.2%. Conclusions: ICU readmissions are associated with worse patient outcomes, including hospital mortality and increased LOS. Without the use of an objective screening tool, the provider has been solely responsible for the decision of patient transfer. Assessment with the NEWS could be helpful in decreasing the frequency of inappropriate transfers and ultimately ICU readmission.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: AMISOM Public Information; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/au_unistphotostream/30706379455/in/photolist-NMqdPr-MPnY5e-NJa5RG-jLkw1i-oY1s6K-qVeUHJ-jLkuzc-24eFna2-2hVBnq8-2hVBnra-2hVBnpb-GyeUem-5M9W3u-Jeg6Ah-29wBkZW-6nDwqz-tN2FeN-F6zd4u-NMqdiB-NMqcQn-NMqdyr-jLn4Ph-2hzVNsG-jLmYMd-tyKDUM; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    A Redesigned Order Entry System for Reducing Low-Value Preprocedural Cardiology Consultations: Quality-Improvement Cohort Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Preprocedural cardiac evaluation is a common reason for outpatient cardiology visits. Many patients who are referred to cardiology clinics for preprocedural evaluation are at low risk of perioperative events and do not require any further management. Our facility treats patients over a large geographic area; avoiding low-value consultations reduces time and travel burdens for patients. Objective: Our study objective was to assess the impact of a novel algorithm in the electronic order entry system aimed to guide clinicians toward patients who may benefit from cardiovascular referral. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed in-person consultations and electronic consultations (e-consults) to our cardiology service before and after implementation of the novel algorithm to assess changes in patterns of care. Data were stored in a custom electronic database on internal servers. Results: We reviewed 603 consultations to our cardiology clinic and found that 89 (14.7%) were sent for preprocedural evaluation. Of these, 39 (43.8% of preprocedural consultations) were e-consults. After implementation, we reviewed 360 consultations. The proportion of consultations for preprocedural evaluation did not decrease (n=47, 13.0%; P=.39). We observed an absolute increase of 13.6% in the proportion of consultations ordered as e-consults (27/47, 57.4%). During the postintervention period, we received no remarks, concerns, or criticisms from ordering clinicians about the process change and no reports of adverse events. Conclusions: Implementation of an ordering algorithm to reduce low-value preprocedural cardiology evaluations did not lead to a reduction in the number of overall preprocedural cardiology consultations. The number of patients seen electronically increased, potentially improving clinic access and reducing travel burden for patients.

  • Patient filling out an electronic patient-reported outcome measure (ePROM) together with a health care worker, who is interested in a comprehensive overview of the advantages and pitfalls of such ePROMs. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://periop.jmir.org/2020/1/e15588/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Benefits and Disadvantages of Electronic Patient-reported Outcome Measures: Systematic Review

    Abstract:

    Background: Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are important in clinical practice and research. The growth of electronic health technologies provides unprecedented opportunities to systematically collect information via PROMs. Objective: The aim of this study was to provide an objective and comprehensive overview of the benefits, barriers, and disadvantages of the digital collection of qualitative electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROMs). Methods: We performed a systematic review of articles retrieved from PubMED and Web of Science. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed during all stages. The search strategy yielded a total of 2333 records, from which 32 met the predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. The relevant ePROM-related information was extracted from each study. Results: Results were clustered as benefits and disadvantages. Reported benefits of ePROMs were greater patient preference and acceptability, lower costs, similar or faster completion time, higher data quality and response rates, and facilitated symptom management and patient-clinician communication. Tablets were the most used ePROM modality (14/32, 44%), and, as a platform, Web-based systems were used the most (26/32, 81%). Potential disadvantages of ePROMs include privacy protection, a possible large initial financial investment, and exclusion of certain populations or the “digital divide.” Conclusions: In conclusion, ePROMs offer many advantages over paper-based collection of patient-reported outcomes. Overall, ePROMs are preferred over paper-based methods, improve data quality, result in similar or faster completion time, decrease costs, and facilitate clinical decision making and symptom management. Disadvantages regarding ePROMs have been outlined, and suggestions are provided to overcome the barriers. We provide a path forward for researchers and clinicians interested in implementing ePROMs. Trial Registration: PROSPERO CRD42018094795; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=94795

  • Source: Shutterstock Inc; Copyright: wavebreakmedia; URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mid-section-caucasian-male-patient-using-1440404186; License: Licensed by the authors.

    A Real-Time Mobile Intervention to Reduce Sedentary Behavior Before and After Cancer Surgery: Usability and Feasibility Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Sedentary behavior (SB) is common after cancer surgery and may negatively affect recovery and quality of life, but postoperative symptoms such as pain can be a significant barrier to patients achieving recommended physical activity levels. We conducted a single-arm pilot trial evaluating the usability and acceptability of a real-time mobile intervention that detects prolonged SB in the perioperative period and delivers prompts to walk that are tailored to daily self-reported symptom burden. Objective: The aim of this study is to develop and test a mobile technology-supported intervention to reduce SB before and after cancer surgery, and to evaluate the usability and feasibility of the intervention. Methods: A total of 15 patients scheduled for abdominal cancer surgery consented to the study, which involved using a Fitbit smartwatch with a companion smartphone app across the perioperative period (from a minimum of 2 weeks before surgery to 30 days postdischarge). Participants received prompts to walk after any SB that exceeded a prespecified threshold, which varied from day to day based on patient-reported symptom severity. Participants also completed weekly semistructured interviews to collect information on usability, acceptability, and experience using the app and smartphone; in addition, smartwatch logs were examined to assess participant study compliance. Results: Of eligible patients approached, 79% (15/19) agreed to participate. Attrition was low (1/15, 7%) and due to poor health and prolonged hospitalization. Participants rated (0-100) the smartphone and smartwatch apps as very easy (mean 92.3 and 93.2, respectively) and pleasant to use (mean 93.0 and 93.2, respectively). Overall satisfaction with the whole system was 89.9, and the mean System Usability Scale score was 83.8 out of 100. Overall compliance with symptom reporting was 51% (469/927 days), decreasing significantly from before surgery (264/364, 73%) to inpatient recovery (32/143, 22%) and postdischarge (173/420, 41%). Overall Fitbit compliance was 70% (653/927 days) but also declined from before surgery (330/364, 91%) to inpatient (51/143, 36%) and postdischarge (272/420, 65%). Conclusions: Perioperative patients with cancer were willing to use a smartwatch- and smartphone-based real-time intervention to reduce SB, and they rated the apps as very easy and pleasant to use. Compliance with the intervention declined significantly after surgery. The effects of the intervention on postoperative activity patterns, recovery, and quality of life will be evaluated in an ongoing randomized trial.

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: peoplecreations; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/surgeons-performing-operation-operation-room_1008428.htm#page=1&query=surgeon&position=1;

    Preoperative Fasting Practices Across Three Anesthesia Societies: Survey of Practitioners

    Abstract:

    Background: Pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents is recognized as a complication of anesthesia. To minimize that risk, anesthesiologists advised fasting for solid foods and liquids for an often prolonged period of time. However, 30 years ago, evidence was promulgated that fasting for clear liquids was unnecessary to ensure an empty stomach. Despite a strong evidence base and the knowledge that fasting may be physiologically harmful and unpleasant for patients, the adoption of society guidelines recommending short fasting periods for clear fluids into clinical practice is uncertain. Objective: This study aimed to determine the current practices of anesthetists with respect to fasting guidelines. Methods: An electronic internet survey was distributed to anesthetists in Canada (CAN), Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), and Europe (EUR) during April 2014 to February 2015. The anesthetists were asked about fasting guidelines, their recommendations to patients for the consumption of clear fluids and solid foods, and the reasons and consequences if these guidelines were not followed. Results: A total of 971 anesthetists completed the survey (CAN, n=679; ANZ, n=185; and EUR, n=107). Although 85.0% (818/962) of these participants claimed that their advice to patients followed current society guidelines, approximately 50.4% (476/945) enforced strict fasting and did not allow clear fluids after midnight. The primary reasons given were with regard to problems with a variable operating room schedule (255/476, 53.6%) and safety issues surrounding the implementation of clear fluid drinking guidelines (182/476, 38.2%). Conclusions: Many anesthetists continue to follow outdated practices. The current interest in further liberalizing preoperative fluid intake will require more change in anesthesia culture.

  • Source: iStock by Getty Images; Copyright: Sasha_Suzi; URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/ca/photo/sick-child-with-high-fever-gm612412896-105492361; License: Licensed by the authors.

    An Automated Text Messaging System (Tonsil-Text-To-Me) to Improve Tonsillectomy Perioperative Experience: Exploratory Qualitative Usability and Feasibility...

    Abstract:

    Background: Inexperience and forgetting perioperative care instruction are significant drivers of parental stress during pediatric tonsillectomy care. With the widespread use of mobile technology, parents now desire a system that provides them with information that is timely, accessible, and comprehensive. Tonsil-Text-To-Me (TTTM) is a text messaging system that sends out automated and timed texts to parents of children who are undergoing tonsillectomy. Objective: The objective of this study was to pilot-test TTTM to assess for feasibility and usability and collect suggestions for system improvements desired by parents from a pediatric otolaryngology text message service. Methods: Parents of pediatric patients who were being scheduled for tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy were prospectively enrolled. An exploratory qualitative study using a semistructured interview guide was performed after parents received the automated texts 2 weeks before and 1 week after their child’s surgery. Results: A total of 7 parents were interviewed (data saturation was reached). Participants were all of maternal relation to the patient. Overall, all parents felt that the TTTM service was an improvement to the current standard model of information delivery. Parents also reported that the text messages reduced their anxiety and improved their performance when caring for their children during the perioperative period. No parents expressed privacy concerns about receiving texts and regarding the information included in the messages. Service suggestions showed that parents were eager for more information and had a high threshold for message reception regarding their child’s surgical care. Conclusions: All parents expressed enthusiasm for a text message service during their child’s tonsillectomy perioperative period. The care instructions and reminders provided to parents via automated and timed text messages may be a strategy to improve information delivery in a simple and accessible format that could empower families in their own health care.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: pressfoto; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/unrecognizable-man-sitting-desk-having-video-call-tablet_5838828.htm#page=1&query=video+call&position=0; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Virtual Clinics in General Surgery: Pilot Cross-Sectional Questionnaire Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Escalating demand for specialist health care puts considerable demand on hospital services. Technology offers a means by which health care providers may increase the efficiency of health care delivery. Objective: The aim of this study was to conduct a pilot study of the feasibility, benefits, and drawbacks of a virtual clinic (VC) in the general surgical service of a busy tertiary center. Methods: Patient satisfaction with current care and attitudes to VC were surveyed prospectively in the general surgical outpatient department (OPD; n=223). A subset of patients who had undergone endoscopy and day surgery were recruited to follow-up in a VC and subsequently surveyed with regard to their satisfaction (20/243). Other outcomes measured included a comparison of consultation times in traditional and virtual outpatient settings and financial cost to both patients and the institution. Results: Almost half of the patients reported barriers to prospective use of VCs. However, within the cohort who had been followed-up in the VC, satisfaction was higher than the traditional OPD (100% as compared with 187/223, 83.9%). Significant savings in both time (P=.003) and financial costs to patients and the institution were found. Conclusions: For an appropriately selected group of patients, VCs offer a viable alternative to traditional OPD. This alternative can improve both patient satisfaction and efficiency of patient care.

  • Subject during the stimulation in a VR environment, including the whole setup. Source: Image created by Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: https://periop.jmir.org/2019/2/e15579; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Comparing the Relaxing Effects of Different Virtual Reality Environments in the Intensive Care Unit: Observational Study

    Abstract:

    Background: After a prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay, approximately 50%-75% of all critically ill patients suffer from neurocognitive late effects and a reduction of health-related quality of life. It is assumed that the noisy and stressful ICU environment leads to sensory overload and deprivation and potentially to long-term cognitive impairment. Objective: In this study, we investigated three different virtual reality environments and their potentially restorative and relaxing effects for reducing sensory overload and deprivation in the ICU. Methods: A total of 45 healthy subjects were exposed to three different environments, each 10 minutes in length (dynamic, virtual, natural, and urban environments presented inside the head-mounted display, and a neutral video on an ICU TV screen). During the study, data was collected by validated questionnaires (ie, restoration and sickness) and sensors to record physiological parameters (240 hertz). Results: The results showed that the natural environment had the highest positive and restorative effect on the physiological and psychological state of healthy subjects, followed by the urban environment and the ICU TV screen. Conclusions: Overall, virtual reality stimulation with head-mounted display using a dynamic, virtual and natural environment has the potential, if directly used in the ICU, to reduce sensory overload and deprivation in critically ill patients and thus to prevent neurocognitive late effects.

  • Source: Unsplash; Copyright: Sharon McCutcheon; URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/bBgoT9BnV3s; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Listening to the HysterSisters: A Retrospective Keyword Frequency Analysis of Conversations About Hysterectomy Recovery

    Abstract:

    Background: In the postoperative period, individual patient experiences vary widely and are based on a diverse set of input variables influenced by all stakeholders in and throughout the surgical process. Although clinical research has primarily focused on clinical and administrative datasets to characterize the postoperative recovery experience, there is increasing interest in patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). The growth of online communities in which patients themselves participate provides a venue to study PROMs directly. One such forum-based community is HysterSisters, dedicated to helping individuals through the experience of hysterectomy, a major surgery which removes the uterus. The surgery can be performed by a variety of methods such as minimally invasive approaches or the traditional abdominal approach using a larger incision. The community offers support for “medical and emotional issues [...] from diagnosis, to treatment, to recovery.” Users can specify when and what type of hysterectomy they underwent. They can discuss their shared experience of hysterectomy and provide, among other interactions, feedback, reassurance, sympathy, or advice, thus providing a unique view into conversations surrounding the hysterectomy experience. Objective: We aimed to characterize conversations about hysterectomy recovery as experienced by users of the HysterSisters online community. Methods: A retrospective keyword frequency analysis of the HysterSisters Hysterectomy Recovery forum was performed. Results: Within the Hysterectomy Recovery forum, 33,311 unique users declared their hysterectomy date and type and posted during the first 12 weeks postsurgery. A taxonomy of 8 primary symptom groups was created using a seed list of keywords generated from a term frequency analysis of these threads. Pain and bleeding were the 2 most mentioned symptom groups and account for almost half of all symptom mentions (19,965/40,127). For symptoms categories such as pain and hormones and emotions, there was no difference in the proportion of users mentioning related keywords, regardless of the type of hysterectomy, whereas bleeding-related or intimacy-related keywords were mentioned more frequently by users undergoing certain minimally invasive approaches when compared with those undergoing abdominal hysterectomy (AH). Temporal patterns in symptom mentions were noted as well. The majority of all posting activity occurred in the first 3 weeks. Across all keyword groups, individuals reporting minimally invasive procedures ceased forum use of these keywords significantly earlier than those reporting AH. Peaks in conversation volume surrounding particular symptom categories were also identified at 1, 3, and 6 weeks postoperatively. Conclusions: HysterSisters Hysterectomy Recovery forum and other such forums centered on users’ health care experience can provide novel actionable insights that can improve patient-centered care during the postoperative period. This study adds another dimension to the utility of social media analytics by demonstrating that measurement of post volumes and distribution of symptom mentions over time reveal key opportunities for beneficial symptom-specific patient engagement.

  • Source: flickr; Copyright: BCcampus_News; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/61642799@N03/46727772805/in/photolist-2ecb3Tg-Tx5D8b-6sBcWv-gyCJnX-pxLBGK-6pqm8z-MezT4s-garVYF-Y3Bt8N-5uNVyi-25MjKQA-66CqCV-eiWFJ4-236hzey-7siBpQ-sMg9L-27Hr9wd-G24b1M-GbVoSK-Agbfht-nhsKfi-Vjfu85-Wj5vGU-A8VXZY-JndMxA-g19Qj4-21; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Impact of an Intensive Care Information System on the Length of Stay of Surgical Intensive Care Unit Patients: Observational Study

    Abstract:

    Background: The implementation of computerized monitoring and prescription systems in intensive care has proven to be reliable in reducing the rate of medical error and increasing patient care time. They also showed a benefit in reducing the length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU). However, this benefit has been poorly studied, with conflicting results. Objective: This study aimed to show the impact of computerization on the length of stay in ICUs. Methods: This was a before-after retrospective observational study. All patients admitted in the surgical ICU at the Rouen University Hospital were included, from June 1, 2015, to June 1, 2016, for the before period and from August 1, 2016, to August 1, 2017, for the after period. The data were extracted from the hospitalization report and included the following: epidemiological data (age, sex, weight, height, and body mass index), reason for ICU admission, severity score at admission, length of stay and mortality in ICU, mortality in hospital, use of life support during the stay, and ICU readmission during the same hospital stay. The consumption of antibiotics, biological analyses, and the number of chest x-rays during the stay were also analyzed. Results: A total of 1600 patients were included: 839 in the before period and 761 in the after period. Only the severity score Simplified Acute Physiology Score II was significantly higher in the postcomputerization period (38 [SD 20] vs 40 [SD 21]; P<.05). There was no significant difference in terms of length of stay in ICU, mortality, or readmission during the stay. There was a significant increase in the volume of prescribed biological analyses (5416 [5192-5956] biological exams prescribed in the period before Intellispace Critical Care and Anesthesia [ICCA] vs 6374 [6013-6986] biological exams prescribed in the period after ICCA; P=.002), with an increase in the total cost of biological analyses, to the detriment of hematological and biochemical blood tests. There was also a trend toward reduction in the average number of chest x-rays, but this was not significant (0.55 [SD 0.39] chest x-rays per day per patient before computerization vs 0.51 [SD 0.37] chest x-rays per day per patient after computerization; P=.05). On the other hand, there was a decrease in antibiotic prescribing in terms of cost per patient after the implementation of computerization (€149.50 [$164 USD] per patient before computerization vs €105.40 [$155 USD] per patient after computerization). Conclusions: Implementation of an intensive care information system at the Rouen University Hospital in June 2016 did not have an impact on reducing the length of stay.

  • The telePORT app providing an overview of the cases running in the main operating rooms. Source: BC Children's Hospital Research Institute; Copyright: BC Children's Hospital Research Institute; URL: https://periop.jmir.org/2019/2/e13559; License: Creative Commons Attribution + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-ND).

    Development and Implementation of the Portable Operating Room Tracker App With Vital Signs Streaming Infrastructure: Operational Feasibility Study

    Abstract:

    Background: In the perioperative environment, a multidisciplinary clinical team continually observes and evaluates patient information. However, data availability may be restricted to certain locations, cognitive workload may be high, and team communication may be constrained by availability and priorities. We developed the remote Portable Operating Room Tracker app (the telePORT app) to improve information exchange and communication between anesthesia team members. The telePORT app combines a real-time feed of waveforms and vital signs from the operating rooms with messaging, help request, and reminder features. Objective: The aim of this paper is to describe the development of the app and the back-end infrastructure required to extract monitoring data, facilitate data exchange and ensure privacy and safety, which includes results from clinical feasibility testing. Methods: telePORT’s client user interface was developed using user-centered design principles and workflow observations. The server architecture involves network-based data extraction and data processing. Baseline user workload was assessed using step counters and communication logs. Clinical feasibility testing analyzed device usage over 11 months. Results: telePORT was more commonly used for help requests (approximately 4.5/day) than messaging between team members (approximately 1/day). Passive operating room monitoring was frequently utilized (34% of screen visits). Intermittent loss of wireless connectivity was a major barrier to adoption (decline of 0.3%/day). Conclusions: The underlying server infrastructure was repurposed for real-time streaming of vital signs and their collection for research and quality improvement. Day-to-day activities of the anesthesia team can be supported by a mobile app that integrates real-time data from all operating rooms.

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