Postoperative telephone calls are a simple intervention that can be used to improve communication with patients, potentially affecting patient safety and satisfaction. Few studies in the neurosurgical literature have examined the effect of a postoperative telephone call on patient outcomes, although several exist across all surgical specialties. The authors performed a systematic review and analyzed studies published since 2000 to assess the effect of a postoperative telephone call or text message on patient safety and satisfaction across all surgical specialties.
A search of PubMed-indexed articles was performed on June 12, 2021, and was narrowed by the inclusion criteria of studies from surgical specialties with > 50 adult patients published after 1999, in which a postoperative telephone call was made and its effects on safety and satisfaction were assessed. Exclusion criteria included dental, medical, and pediatric specialties; systematic reviews; meta-analyses; and non–English-language articles. Dual review was utilized.
Overall, 24 articles met inclusion criteria. The majority reported an increase in patient satisfaction scores after a postoperative telephone call was implemented, and half of the studies demonstrated an improvement in safety or outcomes.
Taken together, these studies demonstrate that implementation of a postoperative telephone call in a neurosurgical practice is a feasible way to enhance patient care. The major limitations of this study were the heterogeneous group of studies and the limited neurosurgery-specific studies.