In an effort to determine whether preoperative (pre-op) phone calls could safely be a substitute for the traditional in-person pre-op office visit, researchers conducted a retrospective study of the outcomes of pre-op phone consults and traditional in-person pre-op office visits.
In October 2015, surgeons at Boston Medical Center were given permission to conduct the pre-op phone consults for cataract surgery patients.
Researchers evaluated the outcomes of 2,055 pre-op phone consult patients and 2,911 traditional pre-op office visit patients. Researchers found that 30 days post-surgery that there were no unplanned hospital admissions or deaths in either group. In addition, the noncompliance rates for phone calls were notably lower at 13 percent compared to 21 percent for office visits. The phone consults also took up significantly less time at 15 minutes compared to 45 minutes for the office visit which resulted in freeing up almost 27 hours a week and giving medical clearance for three times as many patients as the office visits did.
Researchers believe that the study results show that the standard in-office pre-op visits are not medically necessary for most patients and that pre-op phone consults offer a high-value care option along with lessening office visit burden.