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How Patient-centered Surgery Boosts Hospitals' Bottom Line

Health Governance Report, September 9, 2010

Family-centered initiatives must be sensitive to patients’ individual circumstances. Some patients may not have close family available; others may not want family participation. But it’s important to offer family education as an option because it helps not only with recovery, but also with the quality of the care experience.

Listen to patients 

The best way to find out how to make surgery more patient-centered is to ask the patients. What do they find most frustrating in the current care process? What do they like about it? Ask them, and they’ll tell you.

Surveys are one of the most common tools for collecting and quantifying patient feedback, but many hospitals aren’t getting quality information because the go-to survey for patient feedback, the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey, wasn’t really designed for surgery, says Opelka. That could change soon, however. The American College of Surgeons has been working with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to tailor a new CAHPS survey specific to surgical services. New questions will dig into issues unique to OR procedures and give surgeons a better idea of what patients think after their surgery.

Keep in mind, too, that soliciting feedback can involve much more than surveys. DiGioia encourages care teams rolling out new patient-centered initiatives to shadow patients and families throughout their care, then redesign the care experience completely from the patient’s perspective. “When you force everyone to look through the patient’s eyes and the family’s eyes, you begin to knock down those silos, which are extremely important to get rid of if you’re going to deliver exceptional care,” he says.

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