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Post-Op Phone Calls Trigger Quality Improvements

Post-Op Phone Calls Trigger Quality Improvements

In 2012, GBGH’s surgery nurses, led by Anne Lalonde, decided they wanted to find ways to improve the service they provide to patients. Based on inspiration stemming from their team huddle, they decided to start conducting post-op phone calls with patients to gather feedback about their surgical experience. They began to call patients the day after they went home from surgery to see how their recovery was going. They asked questions related to their surgical care in hospital, their pain post-surgery and their wound sites. Although the team cannot provide treatment advice over the phone, by listening to patients they could also advise whether the patient should see their family physician or come immediately to the Emergency department for follow-up. 

Through thorough tracking of the calls they conduct, the nurses can look back on their documentation to identify themes within the feedback. The team reports their findings back to the surgeons at their regular surgical ops meetings. Decisions are then made by the team about what changes are necessary to improve care and the patient experience.  After a couple years of phone calls specifically related to their surgery, as well as pre-and post-op care, the team decided to ask some more general questions about their overall experience as a patient (i.e. how would you rate the quality of care you received, would you recommend GBGH). They also decided the valuable feedback they received needed to be strategically tracked. The data is now provided to Health Records for coding, is added to the patient’s chart and the team receives a report every six months.

According to the most recent report (Apr–Nov 2017), the team of surgical nurses called 98.6 per cent of their patients and have actually spoken to 65.8 per cent of them. 

“Once we started to make the calls, we immediately began receiving positive feedback from patients who felt it really provided some closure to their surgical experience,” says Anne Lalonde, Team Lead, Surgery.  “We also discovered there were many quick wins we could implement right away to change the surgical experience for future patients.”

Some examples of valuable feedback received included hernia patients requesting better pain management and to achieve that, an overnight stay in hospital may be required. Many patients stated they were cold pre- and post-op so the surgical program now has blanket and gown warmers for patients to minimize the effects of a cooler operating room temperature.”

I must commend the team of surgical nurses for taking the initiative to make these post-op calls,” says Anne. “It is absolutely a priority for the team. It does take some time out of their day, but the feedback we’re receiving has made it an incredibly valuable exercise to improve quality of care.”





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