Patient recovering in hospital bed

Collaborative Effort Improves Surgical Experience for Blue Cross Manager

Editor’s note: With funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Collaborative Quality Initiatives enable hospitals and physicians to collaborate and share data. The resulting best practices improve patient care and save costs right here in Michigan. This guest blog by Emily Santer, health care manager, Value Partnerships, BCBSM, shows how CQI improvements benefit patients directly. 

I’ve long admired our Collaborative Quality Initiatives, but never imagined I would personally benefit from their work.

​I recently had a major surgical procedure, one that I’d had twice before outside Michigan. Even though I was a few decades older, this time I had a much better experience, with less pain and discomfort, a shorter hospital stay, fewer opioids and an easier recovery. I attribute much of this to the evidence-based care at the hospital, supported in part by the CQIs we sponsor.

Emily Santer

Author Emily Santer

CQIs bring hospitals and physicians across the state together to collect, share and analyze data, then design and implement changes to improve patient care. This had real impact for me.

I worried that I would wake up from surgery with a tube running through my nose into my stomach, which had caused tremendous discomfort in the previous surgeries. So I was thrilled to learn I wouldn’t need one because surgeons had concluded that the potential benefits did not outweigh the costs. With no tube, I was much more comfortable and could begin eating much sooner after surgery. I lost less weight, my energy level was higher, and I spent less time in the hospital than I had previously.

I was also concerned about post-operative pain. In earlier surgeries, I took large doses of opioids because of tremendous pain. Many of our CQIs are addressing reduction of opioids post-surgery, and I benefited from this work. Despite a large incision, I experienced very little pain because they kept me on an epidural for three days following surgery and relieved my pain through small doses of opiates and extra strength acetaminophen.

My post-surgery recovery was also much easier than in the past. An evidence-based protocol developed by the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative helped me avoid an infection or other issues. I received more pre-surgery information, so I knew what to expect and how to self-manage my pain.

Thanks to the CQIs, I had a shorter hospital stay, better healing and a better patient experience. I feel fortunate to live in Michigan and be the beneficiary of this important work.​

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Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia

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