In our increasingly patient-centric world, opinions and perceptions of patient experience are a major focus of perioperative stakeholders. A meaningful component of this experience is driven by satisfaction with anesthesia providers. An October 2019 article in Anesthesia and Analgesia explores factors associated with satisfaction by taking a deep dive into data from US Anesthesia Partners (“USAP”). USAP “opened the Kimono” to the authors (led by U of Chicago) to satisfaction surveys from over 600,000 patients in 2016. Each patient received a 27 point survey inquiring into a variety of satisfaction and outcome questions. The results were married to detailed case data (procedure, time of day, emergency status, anesthesia type etc.) to uncover factors associated with higher or lower anesthesia satisfaction.
Interesting results included that by far the lowest ranked patient opinion of the anesthesia interaction was “were you able to spend time with your anesthesiologist before surgery?” Patients over 55 were less likely to believe that their questions were answered, that all anesthesia options were explained, or that their anesthesiologist eased their anxiety, or respected their privacy. The same over 55 age group was less likely to agree that they were prepared to make informed decisions or spend time with their anesthesiologist before surgery.
Outpatients rated their anesthesia experience more positively than inpatients. They also were more likely to agree that their questions had been answered, options had been explained and that felt they were well prepared to make informed decisions and had been able to spend time with their anesthesiologist before surgery.
Patients who underwent surgery between 6 pm and 6 am were less likely to agree that their anesthesia provider had eased their anxiety or that they had been able to spend enough time with their anesthesiologist preoperatively. Patients receiving regional anesthesia were more likely than those receiving general anesthesia to agree that their options were explained before surgery and that their anesthesiologist respected their privacy. Patients receiving sedation were less likely than those receiving general to agree that they were able to spend time with their anesthesiologist before surgery, but more likely to agree that their anesthesiologist ensured their comfort during surgery.
EHC NOTE: First of all, the whole peri-op community should send a collective thanks to USAP for agreeing to submit their data for scrutiny, thereby adding to our collective knowledge. Kimono opening is not easy! The article brings up some interesting opportunities for anesthesia providers to focus additional efforts to improve patient satisfaction. Expanded assessment of multifactorial drivers of perioperative satisfaction is likely warranted to identify similar opportunities on a larger scale, encompassing all providers involved in perioperative patient-facing process.