6 factors to consider when choosing where to have surgery
If you need surgery, there are plenty of places to choose from. But with new surgical centers popping up regularly, you may have a hard time deciding where to go. Here are some important things to consider before choosing where to go for both inpatient and outpatient surgeries.
1. Experience with your surgery
Unless you are in a clinical trial, your surgeon should have experience performing your procedure. Find out how many times your surgeon has performed the operation you need, but don't judge on the numbers alone. Many types of surgeries, including those needed for rare conditions, don't happen very often. You may need to find a surgeon who does more than common procedures.
The first step is to learn how common your specific surgery is and how much experience is appropriate. Then, find a surgeon and hospital with the experience you need.
2. Surgical outcomes
When researching a hospital for surgery, find out whether it has a history of success. Consider doing the following:
● Ask about a facility's success rates, including what they consider success. Different surgeries have different goals. Knowing what success looks like can give you realistic expectations about your procedure.
● Learn about hospital quality ratings. Organizations like The Leapfrog Group rate hospitals based on quality, outcomes, and more. If you see a rating you don't like or don't understand, contact the hospital and ask questions about how they ensure quality care and whether they have steps in place to control surgical complication rates.
● Reach out to loved ones. Consult a family member or friend who had the same procedure. Ask how their operation went and whether they're satisfied with the outcome.
3. Safety surrounding surgery
The surgery experience goes beyond the operating room. You want a hospital that focuses on keeping you safe before, during, and after your procedure.
Safety measures and statistics to investigate include:
● Blood clots, infections, and other postsurgical complications
● Fall frequency and prevention programs, if applicable
● Medication safety (how often patients receive the correct amount or type of medication)
● Postsurgical readmission rates
Find a hospital that always makes safety a priority and ask what you can do to participate in your safety. A good care team will explain what you can do before and after surgery to stay safe.
4. The patient experience
A successful surgery sets the stage for a good outcome, but a good patient experience focuses on other important factors you'll want to consider when choosing a hospital for your procedure.
Some of the questions you might want to ask include:
● Do the surgeons and other clinicians communicate with and respond well to their patients?
● Do former patients recommend the hospital to others?
● Is the education on medication, discharge, and transitioning home after hospitalization clear and detailed?
5. Available surgery techniques
Recent decades have brought amazing advances to the world of surgery. For example, all surgeries once required large incisions, lengthy hospital stays, and a long recovery.
Today, minimally invasive techniques can be used for many procedures, including joint replacement surgery. Surgeons who use robotic-assisted surgery provide excellent results with minimal injury to nearby healthy tissue, which means you get home and back to life faster. Minimally invasive procedures involve smaller incisions, and in many cases, patients who have them can go home the same day as their surgery.
Certain procedures, including some emergency surgeries, still require open techniques. When choosing where to have surgery, find out what surgical approaches are offered and what technique they plan to use for your procedure.
6. Insurance coverage
If you have health insurance, your choices are often limited by which facilities are included in your network. Fortunately, it's easy to know whether a hospital accepts your insurance. You can either contact your insurance provider by telephone or log in to your account online to find out. You can also contact a hospital's financial assistance and billing department to ask for help determining whether your insurance will cover the surgery you need.
If you need surgery, always start by doing some research to find a place that's right for you.
Looking for a great place for quality surgery close to home? The Reid Health General Surgery Center is here for you.