Until recently, hospitals participating in the Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP), a quality improvement program that works to improve healthcare in Washington state, have only been able to see what happens while a patient is in the hospital. There has been no standard way to gather information about what happens to patients after they leave the hospital.
For example, if you had surgery at Hospital A and then went to the emergency room of Hospital B because you were still in a lot of pain after your surgery, Hospital A would not know about your visit to Hospital B. Your surgeon at Hospital A would not be able to learn from your issue after surgery to make sure other patients did not have the same problem in the future.
To date, we have only been able to focus on the time when patients are in the hospital. The CERTAIN Patient Voices Project gathers information about patients after they leave the hospital by contacting patients and asking them to complete surveys about their health related to their surgery. Surveys can be taken in whatever format is most convenient for patients. Patients who complete these surveys are taking part in improving the quality and safety of healthcare in Washington state.