Studies of shared (patient-provider) decision making for elective surgical care have examined both the decision whether to have surgery and patients’ understanding of treatment options. We consider shared decision making applied to case scheduling, since implementation would reduce labor costs.
Study questions were presented in sequence of waiting times, starting with 4 workdays. “Assume the consultant surgeon (ie, the surgeon in charge) you met in clinic did not have time available to do your surgery within the next 4 workdays, but his/her colleague would have had time to do your surgery within the next 4 workdays. Would you have wanted to discuss with a member of the surgical team (eg, the scheduler or the surgeon) the availability of surgery with a different, equally qualified surgeon at Mayo Clinic who had time available within the next 4 workdays, on a date of your choosing?” There were 980 invited patients who underwent lung resection or cholecystectomy between 2011 and 2016; 135 respondents completed the study and 6 respondents dropped out after the study questions were displayed.
The percentages of patients whose response to the study questions was “4 days” were 58.8% (40/68) among lung resection patients and 58.2% (39/67) among cholecystectomy patients. The 97.5% 2-sided confidence interval for the median maximum wait was 4 days to 4 days. Patients’ choices for the waiting time sufficient to discuss having another surgeon perform the procedure did not differ between procedures (P = .91). Results were insensitive to patients’ sex, age, travel time to hospital, or number of office visits before surgery (all P ≥ .20).
Our results indicate that bringing up the option with the patient of changing surgeons when a colleague is available and has the operating room time to perform the procedure sooner is being respectful of most patients’ individual preferences (ie, patient-centered).
From the *Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida; †Division of Management Consulting, Department of Anesthesia, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa; ‡Department of Thoracic Surgery, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York; and §Department of Surgery, SUNY University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York.
Published ahead of print July 10, 2017.
Accepted for publication May 11, 2017.
Funding: Research Computing Facility grant support (UL1 TR000135).
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Portions of this work will be presented at the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS) meeting July 2017.
Reprints will not be available from the authors.
Address correspondence to Franklin Dexter, MD, PhD, Division of Management Consulting, Department of Anesthesia, University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Dr, 6-JCP, Iowa City, IA 52242. Address e-mail to Franklin-Dexter@uiowa.edu.