Studies have shown that patients who meet their anesthesiologist preoperatively are less anxious and require less preoperative sedation.
One study suggests the visit has an added benefit – improved patient satisfaction
The BATHE Interview Method
Reported in Anesthesiology News, the BATHE interview method focuses on Background, Affect, Trouble, Handling and Empathy. It is not a new technique, but one Samuel DeMaria, Jr, MD, an instructor in anesthesiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and his colleagues taught anesthesia residents.
The anesthesia residents used the BATHE interview method with 50 patients, while interviewing another 50 patients without the BATHE method. Prior to surgery, the patients provided feedback on their mood, their feelings about their surgery, as well as any concerns.
The Background question asks about what is going on in the patient’s life, while the Affect question explores how that makes the patient feel. The method continues with the Trouble question of what concerns the patient the most, followed by how they are Handling their situation. The last statement provides Empathy for the patient's situation, although Dr. DeMaria stated the final part has become more about Explain for his colleagues.
Those patients that participated in the BATHE interview had slightly higher satisfaction scores than those who did not.
Patients interviewed with the BATHE method showed improvements in patient satisfaction regarding physician courtesy, concern for their worries, and the amount of time the physician spent with them. The last finding is revealing as physicians spent the same amount of time for all 100 patients.
In the Anesthesiology News article, Elizabeth Frost, MD, creator of the PreAnesthesia Assessment continuing medical education series, questions whether using the psychological, behavioral technique is outside the anesthesiologists' expertise.
It could be, as Dr. Robert Goldstein, Somnia's Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President speculates that patient satisfaction may improve simply by conducting a pre-operative visit versus no visit at all.