4 Effective Ways to Educate Surgery Patients

Doctor Educates Surgery Patient

Healthcare is rapidly evolving toward patient-centricity, putting patients more in control of their own decision-making than ever before. With cutting-edge technology and growing out-of-pocket insurance costs, the digital era has encouraged patients to research more into their medical choices.  Likewise, the digital revolution provides more opportunities for medical practices to educate surgery patients better. 

There is a growing need to provide holistic health to differentiate from other practices and boost overall surgical revenue volume for Bariatrics, Oncology, Obstetrics, and more. One of the most significant ways to improve patient care is by educating surgery patients to minimize future complications. Let’s look at how education can enhance overall pipeline health and patients’ wellbeing. 

Quick Takeaways

  • Providing understandable educational materials empowers patients to control their health journey
  • Educating surgery patients successfully increase your bottom line and attracts more referrals
  • Utilizing technology and leveraging your patient’s learning styles can create a more effective program that drives results 

Utilizing Enablement to Educate Surgery Patients

The U.S. currently ranks 46th in the world for overall life expectancy – the lowest since 2003. Before medical technology and the wealth of information on the internet today, patients had minimal resources and relied on their physicians to provide health management instruction. Primarily conducted through quick conversations, outdated data, and mundane flyers, patients could not actively engage in medical outcomes.

Patient enablement strategies provide comprehensible and actionable educational resources that help people understand their own healthcare information. For patients looking to take a more proactive role in their surgery, healthcare practices can now offer better patient enablement to empower responsibility and reduce recidivism.

Life Expectancy Rate in the United States
Image: Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1040079/life-expectancy-united-states-all-time/

How Patient Enablement Boosts Pipeline Health and Surgical Volume

As seen in Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center’s Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience, practices that focus on empowering patients with educational resources, like guides, assessments, and more, often experience repeat consultations and more referrals. 

By addressing each patient’s needs with personalized resources and care, you can enable a better experience with your facility and differentiate your practice from those stuck with traditional tactics.

With a patient-driven healthcare educational model, you can expect the following results: 

  • Productive appointments where both the practitioner and patient participate in making decisions 
  • Access to more relevant and timely information from patients who are willing to monitor their own health throughout the surgical process
  • Less manual, paper-intensive busywork that prevents you from working with other patients
  • Improved referrals and reviews to attract more patients and diversify your pipeline because of an improved experience and preparation.

With the right educational programs and tools, you’re able to give patients more control over their health outcomes every step of the surgical journey. In doing so, you can improve patient relationships and increase your bottom line by making your healthcare methods more competitive. 

4 Ways to Educate Surgery Patients and Differentiate Your Practice

Training your staff and patients with educational resources is crucial to maintain long-term success and minimize complications post-surgery. Here are a few best practices to ensure your educational program is effective for your medical practice:

  1. Utilize Educational Technology and Resources

Embed technology throughout the entire surgical process, whether it’s collecting the initial intake forms, tracking post-care, or communicating with your patient on the next steps. Instead of giving your patient a stack of papers to decipher, consider providing personalized reports with visuals and ensure you talk through the information to answer any questions. 

You can also use technology to educate surgery patients in the following ways:

  • Provide a tracking platform for patients to virtually update you on their status and report any issues without having to set up a meeting
  • Offer telehealth to those who prefer remote consultations.  The massive adoption during the pandemic indicates the viability of digital enablement
  • Upload and store all health documents digitally for your patients to access on their own time
  • Invest in a total care management platform to reduce repetitive tasks for both staff and patients


1. Work with the Patient’s Learning Style

Like the various ways you can supply information, each patient will have a unique learning style to digest and understand educational content. It’s not only important to ask your patient about their ideal learning method, but ensure you listen to their needs. 

Many behavioral scientists believe that there are three primary learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. You’ll need to make sure your learning materials not only cater to the patient’s style, but also follow learning principles: 

  • Patients must complete their own learning
  • Patients need opportunities to comprehend and reflect when learning something new
  • Patients need a purpose to learn, like a health goal or post-surgery outcome

Consider creating your educational resources in multiple formats so that you and your patients are prepared for each consultation. For example, you can offer video modules, e-learning, hands-on demonstrations, or pamphlets to address specific concerns. 

The Rise of Telehealth in 2020
Image Source McKinsey Company

2. Include Family Members

Involving family members or designated points of contact helps ensure the patient properly follows your education. As patient healthcare plans post-surgery become more collaborative, encourage family members to be involved in the decision-making to foster trust, listen, and share educational information with others. 

When educating your patients, include the proper point of contact in the conversation and provide them with resources. Resources could include demonstrations, reading material, videos, and more to ensure they are well-equipped to empower patients in their healthcare journey. 

3. Address Physical and Mental Needs

Before providing educational resources, you need to consider the patient’s emotional, physical, and mental needs that may impact their ability to understand your content. Here are a few ways you can better address your unique surgical patient:

  • Print materials with large font sizes and visuals
  • Record your session or provide more verbal instructions
  • Translate resources in multiple languages
  • Ask your patients to explain or demonstrate what you just taught them
  • Watch for emotional cues to know when you need to listen or talk
  • Create a comfortable environment to consider diagnosis or surgery anxiety 

Educating Surgery Patients Starts with Understanding

While patient-driven healthcare is intended to improve wellness, it’s an excellent model to boost overall revenue. When you listen to your patient and cater educational resources to their needs, you can create a better experience and differentiate from the competition. 

Ready to better engage and educate your bariatric patients? Learn more about Wellbe’s Automated Patient Enablement platform today.