Episodes of surgical care are too often poorly integrated across providers and between the community and inpatient settings. Patients are frequently perplexed by the steps involved in obtaining surgical care, spanning inpatient as well as preoperative and postoperative care in the community. When care is poorly coordinated, patients are unduly tasked with providing the only consistent linkage longitudinally across the episode, navigating from step to step with little guidance. Bridging the silos between community and inpatient care across providers has typically relied on the vigilance of individual providers with limited roles and perspectives, rather than rely on a team-based approach with the patient at the center. This project seeks to bring together a network of patients and surgical care stakeholders to study the experience of patients undergoing surgery, identify common deficiencies in care coordination, and investigate interventions to improve outcomes of surgical care episodes.
Our network will include a diverse group of patients from urban and rural settings in Utah and surrounding intermountain regions who have directly or indirectly experienced surgical care. We will use their experiences to explore where major problems in care coordination exist, including gaining access to surgical specialists and maintaining effective follow-up care. Our network will include primary care physicians, surgeons, and other providers involved in surgical care. By assembling and engaging this network of patients and major stakeholders in the community-surgical interface, we will create a research platform allowing a broad range of investigations designed to improve the experience and outcomes of surgical care episodes.