Looking Ahead & Goal Setting in 2023
The beginning of a new year can also be the symbolic start of new beginnings in other areas. As surgeons we are heavily invested in our professional development. So, why not identify a new year resolution that is related to improving outcomes for our patients?
Sometimes, it’s great to reflect on last year’s achievements. How many procedures you have done. What was my estimated blood loss for a certain surgical procedure? What were my average patient satisfaction ratings?
At the same time – and given that we just started a new year – you might feel in the mood to make a new year resolution relating to improving your surgical performance. I will provide a few examples, so that you can understand better what I mean.
- One of the resolutions could be that you want to learn and perform a new procedure. A “new procedure” could be a totally new procedure like a new way to perform a hysterectomy. You may wish to learn or perfect your skills to routinely do ureterolysis, myomectomy or endometrial resections. It could also mean doing a procedure that you already do, in a slightly different way. You could say for example, you want to secure the uterine blood supply at the level of the lateral pelvic wall as part of your hysterectomies. Or start video recording your laparoscopic/robotic procedures so that you have good recordings of selected cases if needed.
- Another resolution could be to improve one of the metrics that you can choose for yourself. For example, “Currently the proportion of patients with this specific outcome is x% and I will aim to improve it to Y%”. For example your proportion of patients with an estimated blood loss of <100 ml during a certain procedure is 30% and you could aim to increase that to 50%.
- Given that it is so simple nowadays to capture patient-reported outcomes (PROMS), you could aim to increase the proportion of patients who complete PROMS and patient satisfaction surveys. On the side, you would not only know how your patients feel about their healthcare episode; it would also strengthen the relationship with your patients.
- Another option to improve your service to patients is to identify the small group of patients who you disproportionally often have trouble with. Patients that you see only once every three months but you get anxious about when you only see the first glimpse of them. You could contact one of the many doctors coaches available and start your professional development work in this area.
- Finally, one of your new year’s resolutions could be to write a 1-page report on your current surgical performance reflecting on one or more procedures. You’d be surprised how much learning you would get out of this exercise by just reflecting.
So, you can see there are numerous ways to reflect on your clinical practice with tools that you have already available. We believe goal setting is an important and helpful practice for surgeons of all specialties, and it strongly relates our values of knowing better. New year’s resolutions are just one perfectly timed practice to adopt. Not convinced? Here’s why you should be setting goals as a surgeon.
Setting goals is important for surgeons for a number of reasons
First, setting goals helps surgeons to focus their efforts and stay motivated. By having clear targets to work towards, surgeons can stay motivated and keep their efforts focused on achieving their goals. Think: improving your complication rate on a particular surgery.
Second, goal setting can help surgeons to prioritise their tasks and allocate their time and resources more effectively. By setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, surgeons can better plan their work and ensure that they are using their time and resources in the most effective way possible. Think: delegating data entry to your admin team and focusing on entering important case details only.
Third, goal setting can help surgeons to track their progress and measure their success. By setting specific goals and regularly reviewing their progress towards achieving those goals, surgeons can monitor their progress and see how they are doing. This can help surgeons to identify areas where they need to improve, as well as to celebrate their achievements. Think: PROMS allows you to build better doctor-patient relationships with ease, contributing to a great reputation.
Overall, goal setting is an important tool that can help surgeons to be more productive, focused, and successful in their careers.
There’s no goals without data
Measuring your progress with achieving your goals is crucial though, and without data it can be very hard as a surgeon to understand your performance. We have all experienced the ups and downs of being a surgeon, where one tough case or upsetting complication can deeply rattle confidence and have you questioning your career.
Likewise, when times feel consistent and stable, it can be hard to understand your actual performance or pick up on areas needing attention or improvement. Routine can lead to complacency without you even realising.
This is where the simplicity of SurgicalPeformance makes your life easier. As part of your daily flow you are able to enter case information and track your performance long term. With these valuable insights you can not only reflect on your cases, complications and patient relationships, but actively work towards improvements.
The verdict is still out, but some studies report that over 80% of new year’s resolutions are abandoned by February, but you don’t have to fall victim to this. With SMART goals and a good routine in tracking your data, we know that you can achieve any resolutions you set for your surgical practice.
Ready to adopt great routines for 2023 and earn CPD hours at the same time? Start a 10-case free trial with SurgicalPerformance today.
Happy New Year!
Your SurgicalPerformance Team.