When patients call their surgeon's office: An opportunity to improve the quality of surgical care and prevent readmissions

Andrew Brekke, Dawn M. Elfenbein, Tariq Madkhali, Sarah C. Schaefer, Cindy Shumway, Herbert Chen, David F. Schneider, Rebecca S. Sippel, Courtney Balentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Little is known about care coordination and communication with outpatient endocrine surgery patients. This study evaluated phone calls between office nurses and surgical patients to identify common issues addressed and their effect on patient care. Methods Qualitative analysis of preoperative and postoperative phone conversations between office nurses and endocrine surgery patients. Results We identified 183 thyroidectomy patients with 38% contacting our office before surgery and 54% within 30 days after surgery. Common reasons for preoperative calls included questions about preoperative evaluation (21%), medications (18%), and insurance and/or work paperwork (12%). Postoperatively, common topics included medications (23%), laboratory results (23%), and concerns about wounds (12%). Nursing staff prevented unnecessary readmission in 7 patients (4%) whereas appropriately referring 16 (9%) for early evaluation. Conclusions Patients frequently contact their surgeons before and after endocrine surgery cases. Our findings suggest several areas for improving communication with patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-604
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Volume211
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Care coordination
  • Endocrine surgery
  • Outcomes
  • Patient education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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    Brekke, A., Elfenbein, D. M., Madkhali, T., Schaefer, S. C., Shumway, C., Chen, H., Schneider, D. F., Sippel, R. S., & Balentine, C. (2016). When patients call their surgeon's office: An opportunity to improve the quality of surgical care and prevent readmissions. American journal of surgery, 211(3), 599-604. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2015.11.008