How to Effectively Measure Surgical Outcomes

bigstock-Team-of-surgeon-in-uniform-per-50445170With old methods of reporting, even through the use of electronic medical records, many medical practices and hospitals still find measuring surgical outcomes to be a tremendous challenge. This is primarily due to the inconsistent nature of medical reports from surgeons, which stems from many different problems in reporting.

Reduce Report Errors

Although the wide use of electronic medical records has vastly improved surgical and medical reporting in recent years, many hospitals and private practices still rely on an in-house or outsourced transcription team to provide them with their medical reports. These reports, in addition to generally not being streamlined, frequently contain many errors. It takes time to correct the errors, but at times those errors are missed, which leads to an inability to correctly measure surgical outcomes for patients. This presents a major problem for both the patient, and the patient’s medical care team. In synoptic reporting, the physician, surgeon, or another member of the medical team enters the proper information into the system in real time, which significantly reduces the probability of errors. This results in an easily measurable report, that’s also available immediately.

Complete Information

In order to properly measure surgical outcomes, the members of the medical team require all important information regarding that patient’s care to be readily available to them. Problems arise when information is missing, and it’s not uncommon for busy physicians to omit pertinent information altogether.

Synoptic reporting is an excellent way to correct this problem because it uses templates that are designed to prompt physicians to complete the report according to the parameters that have been entered into the system. A complete report means that patients receive the absolute best care, and it also gives the medical team that is providing follow-up care the information they need to measure surgical outcomes.

Consistent Reports 

Another issue that many follow-up medical teams encounter is inconsistent report structure from the surgical team. When variable reporting structure is an issue, it results in frustration for the physician who is following up with the patient, but it also makes it very difficult to measure the surgical outcome. It’s possible that information could be overlooked, even though it was in the report but not in the correct place.

With synoptic reporting, a consistent report is generated that organizes the information properly for every patient. Templates and required fields ensure that the correct data sets are present within the report, as well as standardized medical terminology. When the structure is consistent the data is also, enabling physicians to provide their patients with the absolute best in medical care.

In order to properly measure surgical outcomes, experts agree that synoptic reporting is the most beneficial method because it provides a consistent structure for reports, and because it eliminates any potential for error. Over time, synoptic reporting provides the ability for physicians to compare patient outcomes because they are able to search reports, and find the information they need. This allows for meaningful comparisons between patient cases, which is an excellent way to improve surgical outcomes for future patients.