When it comes to gauging patient satisfaction with anesthesia and perioperative care, operating rooms (ORs) are a bit too noisy and hospitals can be difficult to navigate. Researchers concluded that while patients are generally satisfied with their care, institutions should continually gauge their clients’ feelings in the hopes of improving the patient care experience.
“Patient satisfaction is an important measure of quality of care,” said Roupen Hatzakorzian, MD, assistant professor of anesthesia at McGill University Health Centre, in Montreal. “We established a postoperative questionnaire as a quality assurance project to measure patient satisfaction with anesthesia and perioperative care.”
The survey comprised 14 questions designed to measure patient anxiety, comfort level and the communication transferred during their care. Responses were measured on a 5-point Likert scale, as follows:
- 4 = very acceptable/very much/always/very high;
- 3 = reasonably acceptable/somewhat/usually/somewhat high;
- 2 = not very acceptable/not really/sometimes/moderate;
- 1 = unacceptable/not at all/never/poor; and
- not applicable.
Patients completed the questionnaire before their discharge from the PACU. The mean satisfaction percentage score (MSPS) was calculated for each question on a 0% to 100% scale. “We also added a question giving patients the opportunity to suggest areas of improvement regarding anesthesia and perioperative care,” he noted.
Mostly Outpatient Procedures
As Dr. Hatzakorzian reported at the 2016 annual meeting of the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society (abstract 151582), 165 of the 200 patients who were approached completed the survey. Of these, 62% underwent ophthalmologic intervention, 18% underwent gynecologic surgery and 20% other surgeries, including general surgery and otolaryngologic procedures. Eighty percent were outpatient procedures; 40% of patients were older than 66 years of age; and 51% were women.
It was found that patients were generally satisfied with the perioperative and anesthetic care they received. Indeed, they were very satisfied (MSPS 96.7%) with the information communicated to them by the anesthesia provider.
“Patients were very anxious when they came to the hospital (MSPS 61.9%),” Dr. Hatzakorzian revealed. “But when they encountered their anesthesia provider, their anxiety fell and their MSPS score went up to 89.5%.” He added, “With respect to communication, patients were very satisfied with the anesthesiologist giving information to them and how they were respected.”
Of note, patients proved somewhat less satisfied with the information provided to them to navigate the hospital (MSPS 85.8%) and the quietness of the environment in the OR (MSPS 88.3%).
“When patients were given the opportunity to suggest areas of improvement, they primarily focused on the physical environment,” Dr. Hatzakorzian continued. “They mentioned the OR noise, the temperature of the OR being a bit cold and wait time being a bit long.
“However, they also mentioned some communication issues,” he added. “Patients said they would have liked more time to be able to ask questions. They also said they wanted a clearer identification of the role of various health care professionals involved in their care.
“When it comes to reducing patients’ anxiety, we think there should be more aggressive education in the form of clinics, education, volunteers and pamphlets.”
Tim Turkstra, MD, associate professor of anesthesia and perioperative medicine at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in London, Ontario, explained that although the survey respondents were primarily ophthalmology patients, the study’s results could likely be generalized to a broader range of surgical patients. “I think that the concept of noise in the operating room is highly unlikely to be limited to ophthalmology surgery,” Dr. Turkstra said. “It’s a steadily increasing problem that often interferes with our communication. And I think it’s something we all need to work on.”
“I agree that noise is a big factor, and could be applicable to all surgeries,” Dr. Hatzakorzian replied. “But I also think patients want clear information on how to navigate a big hospital. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that, overall, patients were very satisfied with the care and respect they got.”