IRVING, Texas (BUSINESS WIRE), May 26, 2020 - As the surge in COVID-19 patients begins to recede in some areas of the country, hospitals are considering when and how to resume elective procedures. A panel discussion hosted by Vizient Inc. and its health care intelligence subsidiary Sg2 brought together patient and family advisors (PFAs) from member hospitals to gather insights into what people are looking for before they schedule an elective surgery. Themes that surfaced repeatedly throughout the discussion and poll of PFAs were trust and transparency. The report can be viewed here and a podcast on the subject can be accessed here.
“When it comes to restarting elective procedures, health care organizations need more than speculation about how patients might behave – they need to be able to accurately forecast demand to ensure they have the proper capacity, supplies and staffing in place. The guidance provided by professional associates and industry experts is necessary, but leaves out a key piece of the puzzle: patient behavior,” said Kellie Goodson, MS, CPXP, director performance improvement for Vizient.
Hospitals engage patient and family advisors to improve health care quality, safety and the patient experience. Forty PFAs from nine states participated in the May 1 panel discussion via webinar and offered perspective on what they needed to feel comfortable before scheduling an elective procedure.
- Transparency and communication: Patients and families want to know what has changed from when they were told stay at home, including details about hospitals’ personal protective equipment inventory, infection rates and availability of COVID-19 testing. PFAs said they want transparent, frequent and consistent communication from health care organizations; from general information provided through social media and local news outlets as well as direct communication from physicians.
- Trust in the “new normal:” Patients and families expect a detailed plan with checklists and instructions to help them and their family caregiver understand what will happen when they come to a hospital, including patient flow from pre-procedure through discharge. To feel safe, they want to see safety and infection prevention processes in action, such as cleaning of handrails, elevator doors and other high-touch areas as well as clinicians using personal protection equipment throughout the course of their procedure and stay.
- Personal risk: Patients want to fully understand their own personal risks and benefits of a given procedure, including in what part of the hospital the procedure would take place, where COVID patients are being treated and whether family members would be placed in crowded waiting rooms.
Highlighting their significant and continuing concern surrounding the virus, 84% of respondents said if they needed to receive care for a minor illness, their preferred method of interaction would be through telehealth.
“Health systems should not overestimate how quickly or easily patients will move forward with elective procedures or underestimate the resources it will take for patients to return,” said Mark Larson, principal, Sg2. “Health care organizations must be thoughtful of risks versus benefits when planning to reopen and consider how to integrate telehealth for pre- and post-procedure visits, rehab, and monitoring.”
About Vizient, Inc.
Vizient, Inc. provides solutions and services that improve the delivery of high-value care by aligning cost, quality and market performance for more than 50% of the nation’s acute care providers, which includes 95% of the nation’s academic medical centers, and more than 20% of ambulatory providers. Vizient provides expertise, analytics and advisory services, as well as a contract portfolio that represents more than $100 billion in annual purchasing volume, to improve patient outcomes and lower costs. Vizient has earned a World’s Most Ethical Company designation from the Ethisphere Institute every year since its inception. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Vizient has offices throughout the United States. Learn more at www.vizientinc.com.