Effect of Pre-Surgical Education on Patient Satisfaction and Surgical Experience: A Quality Improvement Initiative

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McKenna Abercrombie
Brayden Healey
Hope Barone
Morgan McNeil
Zijian Zheng
Peter Sigal
Ann LaFond


Quality Improvement, Patient Satisfaction, Patient Preparedness, Effective Communication, HCAHPS, Adverse Events




Purpose: Surgical procedures for malignant and benign cutaneous diseases are commonly performed in the outpatient dermatology clinic. For patients, these procedures can be accompanied by significant uncertainty, angst, and feelings of unpreparedness. In some instances, this uncertainty may contribute to adverse events such as the development of deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary emboli due to unnecessarily held anticoagulants.


Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study evaluating the impact of pre-surgical informative phone calls on patient satisfaction with their surgical experience. Surgical patients scheduled at our academic dermatology clinic for excision or Mohs surgery were randomly assigned to a “call”/intervention group or “non-call”/control group. Patients in the intervention group were called by their resident surgeon one evening prior to their procedure. The resident discussed a pre-written script of expectations and preparations for the surgical day and post-operative period, and allotted time for patients to ask questions. Patients from both groups were given identical five-point Likert scale surveys to complete on the day of their suture removal, which varied from 7-14 days after the procedure. Data analysis was performed using SPSS. Means and one-tail t-test for each question were calculated to compare the call group to the non-call group.


Results: Patients in the call group reported higher rates of overall satisfaction, satisfaction with answers to questions, overall preparation, and overall rating of surgical experience while also reporting lower levels of fear and anxiety. Of these findings, differences in level of preparedness were statistically significant.


Conclusions: The results suggest that presurgical phone calls to patients may improve patient education, help address their concerns and questions, improve their satisfaction with care, and can potentially limit adverse events.


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