New ACS surgical practice guidelines now include patient education

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Evidence-Based Decisions in Surgery (EBDS) and Patient Education programs have collaborated to offer established surgical practice guidelines that surgeons can use at the point of care. The modules, which are viewable on all digital platforms, now include relevant patient education information to aid in high-quality care for surgical patients.

The EBDS modules provide peer-reviewed recommendations for surgeons based on clinical practice guidelines promulgated by national and international professional organizations and government agencies. The surgical recommendations are presented along with the strength of the evidence that supports the recommendations. Grading of the evidence is done with the understanding that the contribution of surgical judgment in developing effective and safe treatment strategies is essential for effective care of individual surgical patients. As such, the modules are intended to guide surgical practice, but should always take into consideration the needs and preferences of individual patients.

Each EBDS module has a section labeled “Suggested Talking Points for Patient Education,” which covers topics such as who developed the guidelines, recommended actions for patients and physicians, and potential benefits and harms associated with these recommendations. Where applicable, links will now be included in the modules that will lead the user directly to the patient education material that supports the particular topic. For example, the EBDS module for Hemodialysis Access has a link to the Patient Education section of the Central Lines Home Skills Kit. The home page for the Central Lines Home Skills Kit provides a host of information, ranging from a welcome video, to a Central Lines Home Skills booklet, to an evaluation.

At present, 13 EBDS modules have links to patient education material from the ACS. As more modules and patient education materials are developed, more comprehensive offerings will be available to surgeon members. Brochures for patients provide all pre-, peri-, and postoperative information to help patients make informed decisions and fully participate in all aspects of their care for many common surgical procedures. The Home Skills Kit series uses a multimedia approach to explain, demonstrate, and provide directed learning experiences and practice opportunities for patients requiring a lung procedure, an ostomy, feeding tube, central line placement, or complex wound care.

ACS Patient Education resources are based on contemporary principles of evidence-based medicine tailored to the individual patient’s needs, with a focus on health literacy. Patients who are trained to actively participate in their care show improved treatment compliance, decreased complications, and enhanced outcomes and satisfaction.*

With outpatient operations representing a growing share (65 percent, 17.3 million) of all procedures performed in the U.S., patient preparation is essential to the delivery of high-value, safe surgical care.

To learn more and view the modules, go to the EBDS website. After logging in with ACS credentials, click on the Topics tab and take note of the modules with a tag labeled “Updated” to find modules that have ACS Patient Education information included. This can be found in the Suggested Talking Points for Patient Education section with links directly to the content available.


*Heneghan KC, Sachdeva AK, Davis E, Bailey HR. Surgical skills patient education program. J Cancer Educ. 2009;24(S1):72.

American Hospital Association. Chapter 3: Utilization and volume. In: Trends Affecting Hospitals and Health Systems. Available at: www.aha.org/research/reports/tw/chartbook/index.shtml. Accessed August 13, 2014.

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