Remember the days before navigation systems and Google maps? The best way to plan a vacation included a stop at AAA to get your TripTik. It gave you a detailed door-to-door map of what to expect on your journey.
With your TripTik, you were ready to go. You had a plan; including important details like locations of rest stops, restaurants and gas stations along the way. Travel stress was virtually reduced because you depended on this important tool to guide your trip. Your TripTik enhanced your vacation experience.
Providing a surgical TripTik
A well-executed pre-op booklet provides the same comfort to your patients. It enables them to look at their surgical journey by smaller segments or to preview the entire trip. It decreases the chances of getting lost or being unnecessarily anxious.
If you think about it, the cosmetic surgery experience has a lot of similarities to the vacation journey. The written documentation is a reference guide for the surgery journey.
Many patients are undergoing surgery for the first time and are nervous and apprehensive. They are unclear about medications, preparations and what to expect post-operatively.
Despite the amount of information available online, patients regard the practice as the expert. They expect the practice to be proactive and anticipate their needs. Personalized pre-op materials provide the patient with the same peace of mind as the TripTik. Pre-op booklets enhance the patients surgical journey.
Ensuring peace of mind
Well-informed patients are happier patients. Careful preparation can minimize anxiety and improve compliance. Patients are better prepared for surgery and more importantly, are calmer and less needy during recovery. Pre-operative preparation is vital to patient safety and a key nursing role.
Beginning with the end in mind
Based on RealPatientRatings data from over 88,000 patient responses, a customized pre-op booklet increases patient loyalty by 72%. Pre-op booklets are both a care strategy and a practice growth tactic.
Going back to the basics
Pre-op materials should be well organized and easy for patients to access. The form in which they are delivered impacts the usefulness to patients. Like a TripTik, we believe the materials should be bound and follow the sequence of the surgical journey.
The materials should include:
- Pre-op preparation
- Medications to avoid
- Post-op instructions
- Detailed recovery information
- Contact information for key staff members
Make sure all information is current and up-to-date. If there are multiple procedures, either remove any conflicting information or highlight the directions you want the patient to follow.
Sending in advance
We have found patients are more satisfied when they receive the materials prior to their pre-op visit. Encourage patients to write questions throughout the booklet so that their specific questions can be answered at the pre-op visit. The goal is to reduce anxiety and have patients approach surgery with greater peace of mind. As an added bonus, well-informed patients call the practice less frequently after surgery and their questions in post op visits are reduced.
Practices who utilize thorough, personalized materials consistently exceed their patients’ expectations. They receive more 5-star reviews like this and fewer post-op calls.
Take the time to review your materials and ask yourself, are these materials worthy of a 5-star review?
Looking for a way to improve your practice? Make the pre-op experience a priority in 2016. Increase likelihood to return by providing better information to patients during their surgical journey.
This article is part two of a three-part series based on an award-winning poster presentation delivered by April Linden at the American Society of Plastic Surgery Nurses (ASPRN) Meeting in Boston, on October 18, 2015.