OBJECTIVES:

To explore patient opinions and underlying values regarding overlapping surgery (OS) scenarios, specifically evaluating the effect of attending surgeon presence and availability, as well as trainee participation on patient comfort level and willingness to consent.

STUDY DESIGN:

Mixed methods.

METHODS:

Forty adults participated in semi-structured interviews. Interviews included vignettes involving three scenarios of OS (1: attending present; 2: attending absent for wound closure; 3: attending absent and unavailable for wound closure, with covering attending), visual analog scale ratings of participants' comfort with scenarios, and cognitive debriefing. Themes and subthemes were identified using hierarchical coding of transcripts, and quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted.

RESULTS:

Quantitative analysis revealed anticipated decreases in comfort with decreasing attending presence/availability (mean comfort level 94% vs. 78% vs. 63% for scenarios 1 vs. 2 vs. 3, P < 0.005), although many patients reported improved comfort with scenario 3 if meeting the covering attending. Participants demonstrated a preference for less trainee involvement (P < 0.005, scenario 1) and greater trainee experience (P < 0.05, all scenarios). However, not all individuals were uncomfortable with attending absence or trainee independence. Themes important for decision making included trust in the surgeon, surgeon experience, trainee involvement, disease severity, cost, and wait time.

CONCLUSION:

Patients varied highly in their willingness to consent to OS scenarios. In settings of trainee independence and covering surgeons, many patients desired meeting these members of the treatment team, which improved comfort for some. For some patients, tradeoffs and incentives of timeliness, cost, and convenience modified their willingness to have OS.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

4. Laryngoscope, 2018.