5 Advantages of Early Patient Engagement in Surgery

Early patient engagement in surgery between a bariatric surgeon and her new patient.

Early patient engagement in surgery resulting in tailored care plans comes with a wide range of benefits to both your patients and your practice. By proactively reaching out to patients early, you build a stronger relationship with them, which in turn strengthens their trust in your medical practice.

In today’s health care landscape, many practices are focused on a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare. A recent survey found that only two out of three patients believe their physician knows them, and almost half feel unprepared for the cost of their care. 

See how you can improve your quality of care and grow your practice with early patient engagement.

Key Takeaways

Early patient engagement:

  • Builds stronger surgeon-patient trust.
  • Reduces patient anxiety, leading to a smoother process.
  • Increases patient participation, which improves health outcomes.
  • Lowers medical costs and helps reduce inefficiencies.
  • Increases patient satisfaction, helping you to grow your practice.

What is Early Patient Engagement?

Early patient engagement is a strategy designed to make patients active participants from the earliest stages of the journey when surgery is first established as the goal. When implemented, early patient engagement helps patients understand their role in their surgery, builds trust, and improves their satisfaction.

When patients are engaged in their bariatric surgery journey from the first consultation, it provides them with an opportunity to feel empowered and take an active role in their care. This helps reduce their anxiety and create a sense of empowerment, which in turn helps to reduce their risk of experiencing a postoperative complication.

The early opportunity to learn more about the bariatric surgery process and the patients’ role in the surgical experience can also help them to feel more confident in their decision to have the surgery, and ultimately make them more likely to participate in their care.

What are the Benefits of Early Patient Engagement in Surgery?

During the early stages of the bariatric journey, you should engage with your patients. This can be done through one-on-one interviews, as well as group and webinar discussions. It provides you with the opportunity to give them additional information and answer any questions they may have. It also provides you with the opportunity to build a relationship with your patients.

1. Stronger Surgeon-Patient Trust 

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful surgeon-patient relationship. Patients must feel that you will look after them and make their safety your number one priority. Engaging your surgical patients early in the process allows more time for you to display the transparency, honesty, and consistent communication that build trust.  

In the video below, Dr. Peter Callan talks about how it can take multiple visits for a patient to assess a new surgeon.

When your patients fully trust you, they feel comfortable asking for any additional information they may need before the surgery. They also become significantly more likely to complete any necessary preoperative steps and carefully follow your instructions for postoperative care.

2. Reduced Patient Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal emotional response to a medical procedure, especially one as potentially life-altering as bariatric surgery. Early surgery engagement can significantly reduce that anxiety.

When you engage a patient early in their care process, you can provide them with more comprehensive information on what to expect. This can include how they should prepare themselves for the procedure as well as addressing any concerns they may have well before the planned day of surgery.  Ideally this information should be delivered in a manner that resonates for the individual.  

By explaining everything early, you give your patient plenty of time to absorb the often-overwhelming amount of information and put words to any anxiety they might be feeling. And by providing them with ample opportunities to have their questions answered, early engagement demystifies the process for the patient and gives them a better understanding of the procedure and their role in the surgical experience. That means that when the day of surgery arrives, your patient’s anxiety can be at a minimum and the process can run more smoothly for everyone involved.

3. Increased Patient Participation 

Increased patient enablement has been shown to improve health outcomes. Early patient engagement in surgery provides patients with an opportunity to participate and influence their surgery from the first consultation.

By working to identify a patient’s preferences and incorporating them into the care plan from the very beginning of the bariatric journey, before ever scheduling a procedure, patients can be better prepared for their experience. This makes them active participants in their own care from day one, empowering your patient to partner with you in their care.

The four levels of patient activation, ranging from Level 1 (Disengaged and overwhelmed) to Level 4 (Maintaining behaviors and pushing further)
Source httpswwwresearchgatenetfigureThe 4 levels within the Patient Activation Measure PAM survey fig4 314277495

4. Lower Medical Costs 

When patients are engaged as early as possible in the process, they can provide you with additional information about their medical history. There is ample opportunity for them to share any relevant symptoms of illness or injury, which can help you as the surgeon understand any concerns or questions the patients may have. This helps you to tailor their care from the start and avoid complications during the procedure.

One of the most-overlooked revenue streams within health care is creating greater efficiency within existing revenue streams. Though counter-intuitive, spending more time with patients early on helps increase efficiency by streamlining the surgery process and wasting fewer resources down the line. Early surgery engagement is an effective way to increase efficiency with existing patients as well as expand patient volume.

98% of physicians say that spending an appropriate amount of time with patients is important, but only 77% of patients think their doctor spends an appropriate amount of time with them
Source httpswwwnorcorgPDFsABIM20Foundation20210520 NORC ABIM Foundation Trust20in20Healthcare Part201pdf

5. Higher Patient Satisfaction

Stronger surgeon-patient trust, reduced anxiety, increased participation, and lower costs all result in a higher level of overall patient satisfaction. This higher level of satisfaction can lead to a lower likelihood of the patient canceling their surgery or requesting a change to their care plan, and a higher likelihood that they will complete their follow-up care.

Highly satisfied patients are more likely to return to your practice for their future care needs and recommend you to friends and family, both via word of mouth and online.. This is what will ultimately build your reputation and help you grow your practice.

How Wellbe’s Solutions Can Facilitate Early Patient Engagement

Wellbe’s solutions can help you engage with your patients early in their bariatric journey. With Wellbe, 98% of bariatric patients felt prepared for their surgery as a result of personalized care automation facilitating early engagement.

Talk to a solutions specialist today to find out more about early patient engagement with Wellbe.