As hospital leaders attempt to tackle the backlog of surgeries brought on by the pandemic, experts are offering a few words of advice.
Michigan Medicine medical doctors recently detailed their tips in the Annals of Surgery. They recommend that leaders get started on this work right away to avoid any harmful delays to patient treatment.
“It should be noted that, if many of these surgeries continue to be put off, many of these health conditions will continue to progress and could cause the patient to become sicker,” Jessica Billig, MD, a resident physician of plastic surgery at Michigan Medicine and lead author of the paper, said Monday. “We hope these strategies offer our colleagues across the country some thoughts to consider so we can accommodate the patients that need our surgical care.”
Here’s a quick look at their advice. You can read the rest of the piece in the American Surgical Association’s official publication here.
1. Continue to grow telemedicine by more broadly adopting the way in which providers are using telehealth appointments for post-operative care, including expanding virtual visits to initial surgical consultations.
2. Expand capacity by extending the operating room schedule outside of regular work hours and accommodating more appointments at ambulatory surgery centers. Clinicians can also perform minor procedures in the clinic setting to help further free up space for more complex surgeries.
3. Be transparent with patients about billing, providing detailed and upfront information about the cost of care. Many patients are experiencing monetary challenges amid the pandemic and getting upstream of these concerns can help head off cancelations. Providers should also try to schedule procedures in locations that charge the lowest out-of-pocket expense.