“…surgery is problem-focused. We identify patients by their problems and view them by their barriers to discharge. This ideology also permeates our own identities: as surgeons, we pride ourselves on our ability to fix problems. However, this mindset equates good health with the absence of pathology, rather than the presence of wellbeing. This gap may underlie why some patients with a ‘‘surgical problem’’ fail to thrive after their ailment is addressed. As surgeons, it may be possible to leverage the surgical episode to build positivity and facilitate lasting wellness for our patients.”
How might positive psychology might affect outcomes for surgical patients? And how might the surgical episode, often a pivotal life event, be leveraged to make wider positive impact on patients’ lives?
At our 2019 conference in Detroit, MSQC Director Michael Englesbe challenged the collaborative to start thinking about how MSQC might build positive psychology into our clinical systems, and asked for input on potential interventions, future quality improvement programs, and what measurable steps we could take now, to move us towards integrating these kinds of interventions in to the perioperative process.
In a thought-provoking new paper co-authored with Mary Chen, MD and Jocelyn Vu, MD, Dr. Englesbe addresses these questions and considerations, and offers large and small scale opportunities for change, so that we might “advance from simply fixing problems to helping our patients flourish after surgery”.
Watch for more on this in 2020 and beyond!
Using Positive Psychology to Optimize Patient-centered Surgical CareShen M, Vu JV, Englesbe MJ.Ann Surg. 2020 Jan 6. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003765. [Epub ahead of print]