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Improving outpatient surgical success rates

Pascale  Carayon

Pascale Carayon (large image)

With attempts to reduce medical costs — particularly hospital costs — the number, speed and complexity of outpatient surgeries increases, says Professor Pascale Carayon. And that means the number of patient safety issues — ranging from patient records not arriving in time for a surgery to an operation on a wrong body part — also increases.

With intern Phil Ayoub, Research Scientists Ann Hundt and Carla Alvarado, Assistant Professor of Population Health Sciences Maureen Smith, and Industrial and Systems Engineering Assistant Professor Ben-Tzion Karsh and Professor Patti Brennan, Carayon is working with five Madison outpatient surgery centers to improve the processes through which both patients and clinical staff must go before, during and after a surgery. Conducted with the Madison Patient Safety Collaborative, whose coordinator, Amanda Borgsdorf, is a member of the research team, the project is funded via a three-year, $600,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Ultimately, the researchers will focus on improving patient pre-operation assessments and post-operation follow-up. To start, they asked center employees to complete a questionnaire to identify patient-safety issues and workplace factors that either hindered or facilitated their job performance. And to understand the patients' perspective, they followed several patients through their entire day at a center.

As they implement solutions, the researchers are collecting data about the level of communication internally and between center staff and workers at the patients' referring clinics. They also are conducting surveys to learn whether patients understood what to do before their surgeries and what might happen when they returned home.

And though the solutions are specific to each clinic, the researchers are documenting their processes, data and tools for more general use, says Carayon

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12/15/2003