Enhancing the Patient Experience for Total Joint Procedures

Total joint replacement or reconstruction is an invasive procedure with potentially lengthy recovery times. When patients are facing the prospect of joint procedures followed by weeks of physical therapy and restrictions, a positive experience at your ASC can dramatically improve their recovery and satisfaction.

Educate Before Total Joint Procedures.

Don't wait until patients scheduled for total joint procedures ask you questions. Anticipate their concerns and explain the procedures in detail. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare will help your patients feel more in control. With more control, there is less anxiety.

Once a patient is scheduled for a joint procedure, offer them any literature on how the process is done and what they should expect. One Medical Passport's educational videos are a great way to give patients an overview of their specific procedures and answer any questions. The use of downloadable videos tailored to their procedure and short messages from the surgeon or staff can reassure patients they are in the hands of caring, attentive professionals.

Keep Them Financially Informed

Patients who opt for total joint procedures at an Ambulatory Surgery Center benefit tremendously from their surgery's reduced cost compared to a hospital stay. This doesn't mean they don't have cost concerns. Cost transparency alleviates any anxiety about unexpected expenses so patients can focus on recovery. Send out detailed invoices, payment reminders, or options for payment plans so patients don't have to call the office or billing department to get the complete picture.

Make Them Partners in Recovery

Total joint replacement isn’t simply a surgical procedure – it’s a process that requires patient participation for the best experience and outcome. Stress the importance of each patient's role in the recovery process at every stage. Before sending patients home to recuperate, review a checklist of the things they can and can't do, provide them with detailed care instructions, and remind them when their next appointment is scheduled.

Reinforce those instructions by sending videos and emails to them at home. These ensure greater engagement, minimize the chance of missed appointments or misunderstood home care instructions. Patients can refer back to these as their recovery progresses.

Ensure Patients Have the Right Post-Op Care

Prior to a total joint procedure, make sure patients will have appropriate home care and physical therapy in place. This may be a home health worker or a family member depending on the patient's needs. Your ASC can help patients coordinate with a home health care agency when they schedule their surgery, so they aren’t worried about how they’ll care for themselves after surgery.

Being pro-active about physical therapy is also crucial. Working closely with physical therapists associated with your ASC is beneficial, as you can steer patients toward therapists who fit their needs. Setting up an initial appointment or giving them the information to do this themselves minimizes patient apprehension about whether they will receive adequate therapy.

Follow Up After Surgery

The patient experience doesn’t stop once the surgery is over. Many patients feel abandoned by their surgeons once they get home. They may feel they are on their own without anyone to alleviate their concerns. Follow-up messages asking about their recovery and reminding patients they can contact your ASC with any questions will reassure them that your resources are still at their disposal. Short videos can be valuable tools as well. These can provide guidance for anything from how to adjust a brace to how to care for their incision, giving patients more confidence.

Enhancing the total joint patient experience relies on education, communication, and follow-up. If your ASC provides these, the patient outcome will be overwhelmingly positive.

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