Patients Find Pre-Surgery Education Needs Improvement

Taking the time to educate patients before their medical device implantation has positive implications for patients, healthcare providers, and medical device manufacturers, according to a new poll.

Taking the time to educate patients before their medical device implantation has positive implications for patients, healthcare providers, and medical device manufacturers, according to a new poll.

Gallup asked patients to rate their level of agreement with 3 statements:

  • I knew what to expect after surgery
  • I was prepared for my experience post-surgery
  • I followed post-surgery instructions, such as rehabilitation or medication

These 3 important aspects of pre-surgery education substantially affected outcomes. Patients who strongly agreed with just 1 statement had higher satisfaction and lower problem incidence. Agreeing with 2 or 3 statements yielded even greater outcomes.

“The vital finding that healthcare providers should heed is that taking the time to educate patients before a procedure has significant consequences for patients, their friends and families, and their community,” wrote Gallup’s Mike Ellrich and Daniela Yu. “But before healthcare leaders take action to improve patient education and communication, they need to know where the biggest gaps exist in these areas.”

Only 37% of respondents who had received a medical implant strongly agreed with all 3 aspects of patient education and 17% agreed with none of them. Less than half of respondents agreed with the statements “I knew what to expect after surgery” and “I was prepared for my experience post-surgery.”

Based on the responses, Gallup determined that patients take care of their part, but that tailored pre-surgery communication with the patient is necessary for successful post-procedure outcomes.

“Though there is room for improving patient education across the board, hospital leaders could enhance patient outcomes by reassessing their education strategy and messages for these key patient segments,” the authors wrote.

Recommendations for how healthcare leaders can improve patient education include:

  • Emphasize proactive communication by equipping physicians, nurses, and staff with the knowledge, experience, and materials to meet patients’ education needs.
  • Use checklists to reduce surgical and medical errors.
  • Tailor communication to each patient’s needs, including individualizing the content and how physicians, nurses, and staff deliver it.