Hospitals, doctors, health agencies and others in the medical field always urge patients to ask lots of questions and be active partners in their own health care.
Southeastern Regional Medical Center values the importance of asking questions too.
For example, patients, doctors and staff were asked for input on how to: improve safety measures; enhance patient care and experiences; and simplify the way the Center works.
That feedback has helped pinpoint some procedures that patients said were confusing and cumbersome. Southeastern reworked them so they run more smoothly—especially for patients.
In the past, there was no structured way for people to fill out pre-surgery forms, get needed tests and find out what to expect.
“Patients told us this was very frustrating,” said Barbara Martin, manager of inpatient and outpatient recovery. “Nurses tried to talk to them before or between procedures. But sometimes there just wasn’t enough time.”
Now, Southeastern has a specific place and clinical staff to handle this process. It’s called Pre-Admission Testing (PAT) and is located on the second floor of the Center.
Here’s how it works:
When a doctor or surgeon schedules a procedure, a separate PAT appointment will be scheduled too.
The PAT team—including registered nurses, technicians and other health care professionals—will arrange necessary pre-surgery instruction and tests. At the appointment you may:
• Fill out required forms and share your health history, along with any other necessary personal information.
• Complete routine tests, such as an EKG, chest x-ray or laboratory blood work.
• Have an assessment for anesthesia.
• Learn more about the surgery that will be done.
• Go over related matters, such as post-surgery care.
• Ask any questions you may have.
In many cases, the blood draws and tests are done right in the private PAT room. If a trip to another department is needed, patients are escorted there and back.
“It’s eliminated so much frustration,” said Martin. Patients feel better prepared. PAT helps surgeons too, because it prevents canceled or postponed operations.
What to bring
For pre-admission testing to go smoothly, patients should arrive for their appointment a little early. There’s no need to fast unless you’re told to do so. Bring with you:
• Insurance cards.
• Medications. Bring them in their original containers, Martin recommends. Remember to include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, herbals and supplements.
• A list of recent tests and surgeries, and when and where they were done.
• Names and phone numbers of doctors and emergency contacts.
• If you wish, a friend or relative who can help listen to instructions.
Most appointments take less than 30 minutes.
Patients can fill out an electronic pre-registration form to speed things up, but it must be done at least three days in advance of your PAT appointment. You’ll find it under the “Patient & Visitors” tab at the top of the Southeastern home page at www.srmc.org.
Otherwise, this information will be collected at PAT.
Comfort, convenience and care
“We’re working to improve the health of the community by helping people get the tests they need,” said Martin.
By streamlining the processes that go along with medical care, patients can focus on preparing for their procedures—and afterward, move on to embrace the activities and people they love.
For more information about PAT, call 671-5545.
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