Purpose of review: The ever-increasing demand for productivity has forced anesthesiology departments to implement a safe, efficient, and structured approach to the preoperative evaluation of surgical patients. The goal of the present article is to discuss the evolution, benefits, and the future of preoperative clinics including a telephone-based system.
Recent findings: Outpatient preoperative evaluation clinics are common, but the optimal model is unknown and may depend on a hospital's characteristics such as the types of specialty care provided, geographic and socioeconomic differences of the population served by the hospital, the expectations of patients, and whether the facility is private versus academic practice where house staff education is necessary. The advantages of a telephone-based screening and assessment system include that patients need not make a separate visit to the hospital that typically would require taking time off from work.
Summary: It is difficult to compare the efficacy of different preoperative evaluation systems with regard to properly educating the patient, minimizing complications, and maximizing surgical suite functioning. Several authors have pointed out that quality improvement of the preoperative clinic should be guided by obtaining patient feedback.