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Patient education key to successful surgical outcomes

A new Gallup poll shows that patients in Ohio and nationwide have better post-surgical outcomes when they receive key pre-surgery education. The survey could have significant implications for patients, health care providers and medical device makers.

The poll asked post-surgical patients if they believed they had been well-educated in what to expect after surgery, how to prepare for their post-surgery experience and how to follow post-op instructions. Patients who said they were well-educated in at least one of those areas experienced higher satisfaction and fewer complications than patients who said they were less educated. Those who said they felt well-versed in all post-surgical areas had even greater outcomes.

Gallup said that patients who felt well-educated about their surgeries also experienced positive physical and emotional consequences that extended beyond the scope of their surgical procedure. Patients who rated their pre-surgical education the highest were twice as likely to be thriving in all areas of their life, including socially and financially, than patients who rated their education lower.

Overall, Gallup reported that only 37 percent of patients strongly believed they had been well-educated in all surgical areas. Meanwhile, 17 percent of patients reported feeling well-educated in none of the areas. In order to improve patient education, Gallup recommends health care providers work to emphasize proactive communication, use checklists and tailor communication to each patient. Likewise, medical device manufacturers can help by producing easily accessible content about their devices and anticipating and answering patient questions in their materials.

Health care providers who fail to properly educate their patients on medical procedures and aftercare could be guilty of medical malpractice. Any Ohio resident who believes hospital negligence has caused them physical or mental harm may wish to consult with an attorney.

Source: Gallup, "For Patients, Pre-Surgery Education Is Lacking," Mike Ellrich and Daniela Yu, May 21, 2015

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