Outpatient Surgery

More and more people are having minor surgical procedures at their doctor’s office, instead of in a hospital setting. According to the Wall Street Journal, the nonprofit Institute for Safety in Office-Based Surgery (isobsurgery.org), a group led by anesthesiologists and other medical practitioners, is spearheading an effort to establish national standards and regulations for office-based procedures.  The Wall Street Journal quoted Dr. Fred Shapiro as saying, “This is really the wild west of health care.” Dr. Shapiro is an assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and is president of the Institute for Safety in Office-Based Surgery.  According to Dr. Shapiro, the group is planning to train office personnel in safety procedures and offer  certificates of quality to offices that meet safety criteria including accreditation by one of three major accrediting organizations.

The Wall Street Journal Reports that minimally invasive surgical procedures and new anesthesia techniques at outpatient facilities are making it easier than ever to have surgery. However, recovery from such procedures can still take weeks or months.

The growing number of procedures performed in doctor’s offices is a little-regulated side of the fast-growing filed of outpatient surgery.  The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 15 million procedures are performed at more than 50,000 office-based locations, but only 22 states have any kind of regulations of such practices, and only a fraction of the offices are accredited by any of several independent review boards.

The Institute for Safety in Office Based Surgery recently developed a safety checklist similar to those used by hospitals for preventing infection.  The Wall Street Journal reports that patients should be evaluated for their risks of deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot – and the physician and staff should go through the same safety procedures used in hospitals, such as marking the surgical site to ensure the right body part is operated on, and making sure emergency supplies are at the ready.

Dr. Fred Shapiro told the Wall Street Journal Health Blog that many doctor’s offices are not sufficiently equipped to deal with patient emergencies and unexpected complications that arise during or after surgery. Additionally the doctor’s offices may have small staffs with no time to properly instruct patients in follow-up care or call back after surgery to monitor the patient after discharge.  The Institute for Safety in Office Based Surgery checklist includes providing patients with written follow-up instructions.

For more information visit Boyd B. Newton at http://www.injurylawyerofatlanta.com.