JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – A scorecard enables spectators at a baseball game to keep track of who the players are, and a scorecard of the surgery team can do the same for inpatients, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found.

They gave patients a “facesheet” that included photographs and biographies of all members of their surgery team, which helped patients to better understand the team members’ roles in their care and led to improvements in overall satisfaction scores, according to a study reported at the Association for Academic Surgery/Society of University Surgeons Academic Surgical Congress.

“Patients, as we know, have an incomplete understanding of the levels of training of their hospital team and the roles of the various surgery providers on their teams, and these misunderstandings can often make it difficult for us to establish a patient-care relationship,” Sandra DiBrito, MD, general surgery resident at Johns Hopkins University said in reporting the findings.

The study involved two intervals: a prefacesheet phase of 153 patients and a postfacesheet phase of 100 patients. The two groups, all gastrointestinal surgery inpatients, were administered preintervention discharge surveys to evaluate their level of patient satisfaction according to a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree).

“We found that using these facesheets helped patients know the roles of their team members, and the patients felt that it was important to [have this information],” Dr. DiBrito said.

The share of patients answering 4 (agreed) or 5 (strongly agreed) for overall satisfaction rose from 83% before the facesheet intervention to 88% afterward (P = .5). The number of patients agreeing that they understood their providers’ roles increased from 72% to 83% (P = .05), and the number who agreed that it was important to know who their surgical team members were increased from 85% to 94% (P = .04). The latter finding somewhat surprised the researchers. Dr. DiBrito said, “That’s not exactly what we were anticipating.”

The study also revealed a trend in patients’ feeling more confident in their team overall after the facesheet intervention, rising from 89% to 95%, Dr. DiBrito said.

She said the Johns Hopkins team is not continuing the initiative currently but would like to roll it out more broadly to other hospital services. Other groups within the hospital, including nursing and clinical customer services, must get on board, she said. “We really need buy-in from higher levels in the hospital, and this was part of the proof that we needed,” Dr. DiBrito said.

The premise of the study was that patients need to identify a member of their care team as a point person, she added. “We’re trying to give the patients, and their family members as well, some people to look out for,” Dr. DiBrito said.

Dr. DiBrito and her co-authors had no financial relationships to disclose.

SOURCE: Dibrito SR et al. Academic Surgical Congress 2018, Abstract 09.04 .