Listening to patients to improve outcomes

A male physiotherapist stands beside a young man on a piece of fitness equipment
Senior Physiotherapist and Researcher Dale Edgar with his patient Josh Brock.
September 4, 2018

Giving patients a voice and learning from their experiences is at the core of the latest research project by Senior Physiotherapist Dale Edgar.

This study is exploring the patient journey to see how the system and clinicians can work to decrease the risk of complications and deliver better outcomes after general surgery.

“By speaking with our patients and understanding where the shortfalls are, it will assist with informing on potential interventions,” Dale said.

“We hope by adding exercise intervention (prehabilitation), it will give us time with patients to not only do a work up in the gym, but provide tailored education and manage expectations.”

Dale has been a senior researcher and allied health professional in the State Adult Burns Unit for almost 20 years. He has published more than 80 articles and been involved in excess of 100 research projects. Dale is using this experience to cross-pollinate and assist in making change across different specialities.

“I hope to take my learnings and understanding from my work in burns and propagate this across other areas,” Dale said.

“Similar work has also been completed in cardiovascular and upper abdominal surgery. Pulling all of the knowledge from these fields together to make change in general surgery should have a significant impact.

“While there may be different risk profiles and areas of risk in each speciality, the one constant is that patients require a general anaesthetic which increases the risk of respiratory and circulatory complications.

“The assumption is that if we can reduce the risks of patients having an anaesthetic by assisting them to be fitter and stronger for surgery we hope to mitigate complications and improve overall outcomes.”

The study has commenced recruitment to four focus groups, a mix of pre and post-operative patients.

Dale believes this interaction with patients will improve all aspects of their experience, make the patient journey as efficient as possible and give them the best chance of a good outcome.

“Understanding the power of the patient’s voice is crucial for us to improve the patient journey and their quality of life after the experience,” Dale said. 

Read more about our research in the South Metropolitan Health Service Research Report 2017 (PDF 3.4MB).

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