Sep 25, 2014 2:00 PM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

What is the best way to improve patient care? How about starting by asking them what improvements need to be made? That is the idea behind a new program being put into place by surgeons at University of Utah Health.

They are starting by looking at surgical patients who are transitioning from inpatient to outpatient care, and the areas where they feel their needs are being met – and those that can use improvement. It’s a change in how surgical outcomes are usually measured, according to Benjamin Brooke, MD, an associate professor of vascular surgery. “Physicians often using clinical outcomes to define whether a surgery was successful, but this might not be the case from the patients’ perspective,” he says.

It is no accident that surgical transitions are the focus of the program. Brooke says the quality of the transition can determine how quickly a patient recovers, and whether or not they are readmitted to the hospital. “We believe that a good surgical transition is when patients and their caregivers are engaged, well-informed, and feel like they are part of the health care team,” he says.

They are opening the program to anyone who has been a part of a surgical transition, no matter what the surgery entailed. “We believe most of the problems are system-wide and not specific to any particular surgery,” says Brooke. Caregivers and family members also have valuable information to contribute to the program. “We want to hear from people on the entire continuum,” he says. “That includes caregivers and stakeholders from when patients are referred for surgery to the transition back to the community after surgery. This can include primary care providers, nurses, social workers, physical therapists/occupational therapists, home-care providers, or post-acute care providers.”

University of Utah Health recognizes the impact that care coordination between patients and their providers has on patient outcomes. Brooke says, “From this project, we hope to improve how surgical care is coordinated from the patient’s perspective, and develop health care interventions that reduce the possibility that patients will experience adverse events during transitions of surgical care.”

To learn more about the project please call 801-581-8409.

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