California Hospital Incorporates AHRQ Surgery Brochure Into Patient/Visitor Guide

Patient Safety
September 2004

Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, California, a 450-bed community hospital that serves the central San Gabriel Valley, has incorporated AHRQ's brochure "Be Informed: Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before You Have Surgery," into its new Patient and Visitor Resource Guide. The guide, which is already in use in the hospital, tells patients and prospective patients what they can expect during a hospital stay and encourages them to take an active role as consumers of health care. Over time, the hospital expects to distribute the guide to 250,000 individuals in its service area.

The AHRQ brochure lists 12 questions individuals should ask their physicians when surgery is recommended. It encourages them to ask about the costs and benefits of the surgery, about the experience and success rates of the hospitals where the procedure might be done, about options for anesthesia, and about what to expect in the postoperative period.

Tom Downing of The Turning Point Group, the company that developed the guide for the hospital, explains that the hospital sees the guide as one way to solidify its relationships with its patients, by telling them up front what they can expect and then delivering on those expectations.

In addition to the discussion of surgery, the guide describes the hospital's facilities and services, promotes its wellness programs, explains its billing procedures, and discusses ethical and legal issues relating to patients' rights and responsibilities and end-of-life decisions. It is given to inpatients at check-in, and will be distributed in the community at large. The hospital is also considering sending copies to referring physicians' offices.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Publications
Topics(s): Patient Safety
Geographic Location: California
Implementer: Methodist Hospital in Southern California
Date: 09/01/2004
Page last reviewed October 2014