Surgical patient values frame and modify the impact of risk factors for non-routine postdischarge care: A mixed-methods study

Am J Surg. 2021 Jan;221(1):195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2020.05.016. Epub 2020 May 16.


Background: Adult colorectal surgery patients continue to have high rates of readmissions, despite known risk factors for non-routine postdischarge care (emergency department (ED) visit or rehospitalization) and countless interventions to address these. It is unclear how the difficult-to-quantify patient perspective frames and modifies the impact of these quantifiable risk factors.

Study design: We identified consecutive adult inpatient colorectal surgery patients from 2017 to 2018. This mixed methods study merged data from electronic health records and in-depth patient interviews.

Results: We enrolled 258 participants, surveyed 167, and interviewed 18. Depressive symptoms represent one of many risk factors confirmed to increase non-routine healthcare utilization (RR 1.85, 95% CI 1.02-3.37), though the patient perspective explained why these symptoms seemed to greatly impact some patients more than others. Additionally, consistent with patient report, patients with non-routine postdischarge care (26%) were less likely to report communication with their surgical team (80% vs 97%, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Patient perspectives add depth and understanding of the impact of risk factors on non-routine post-discharge care. This expanded knowledge explains why one patient is more likely to visit an ED close to home whereas another patient might prefer to visit their surgeon's clinic directly. Effective strategies to reduce unplanned postdischarge care should be tailored.

Keywords: Adaptive implementation; Colorectal surgery; Emergency department visit; Healthcare utilization; Patient perspectives; Readmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aftercare / psychology*
  • Aftercare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Colonic Diseases / surgery*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Diseases / surgery*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report