Feature February 15, 2022 John Bernot, MD

Improving outcomes: 9 things to know about your patients before surgery 

Here are 9 things providers should know about patients before surgery to help improve health outcomes.

Post-surgical complications and other poor outcomes are often the result of identifiable risk factors. 

The American College of Surgeons’ Strong for Surgery is a framework for identifying risk factors that lead to poor surgical outcomes. 

The purpose of the program is to provide a pathway to modify behavior during the preoperative period to improve outcomes.1

However, modifying behavior requires more than identifying risk factors but understanding who the patient is outside of the clinical setting and what type of optimization will likely work for them. 

Infographic: 9 things to know about patients before surgery

Here are 9 things to know about patients to improve surgical outcomes:

1. Communication preferences. Communicating with patients in their preferred mode of communication increases the likelihood patients will receive your messages and respond to them.

2. Comorbidities / pre-existing conditions. Managing chronic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, are critical to avoiding post-surgical complications and key to implementing Strong for Surgery. 

3. Social determinants of health (SDOH) factors. Knowing what your patients are struggling with at home can ensure you’re providing them with care plans they can follow. SDOH can impact up to 80% of health outcomes.2 

4. Recovery expectations. Aligning patient expectations with the actual recovery process is critical to health outcomes and patient satisfaction.3 

5. Motivations. Understanding what your patients want to gain from an elective surgery will help you design a care plan that shows them how risky behavior, such as smoking, could negatively impact their health goals. 

6. Health literacy. Offering how-to videos and pictures that show patients how to follow pre-op tasks ensures patients across all health literacy levels can follow instructions. 

7. Patient activation. Finding ways and methods to increase patient engagement increases the likelihood patients will respond favorably to your optimization efforts. 

8. Support network. Getting to know your patient’s caregiver and extended support network provides you with additional opportunities to motivate your patients to modify behavior and follow pre-op tasks. 

9. Anxiety levels. Offering patient education is essential to improved outcomes as high anxiety levels are associated with increased hospitalization and poor surgical outcomes.4 

Learn how Ayva can help you get to know your patients better and improve health outcomes. 

Get to know your patients better with Ayva!

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