Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust launches digital pre-operative assessments to optimise theatre use

Published: 29-Jul-2022

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new digital pre-operative assessment (POA) pathway to improve operating theatre utilisation by filling last-minute surgery slots and reducing the number of face-to-face appointments the department processes

The project is part of the Trust’s drive to create a more efficient theatre booking pathway by creating a pool of ‘pre-op ready’ patients that consultants can use to create theatre lists and fill last-minute surgery slots.

Digitising the pre-operative assessment process will also allow consultants and anaesthetists to access full patient notes from any of the Trust’s four hospital sites.

The project has been rolled out across North Tyneside General Hospital, Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Hexham General Hospital and Wansbeck General Hospital, giving staff across all four hospitals secure access to patient records and a real-time view of each patient’s status through the pre-operative pathway.

Idris Wilson, Operational Services Manager, Emergency Surgery & Elective Care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust explained: “The pre-op assessment department faces high volumes of last-minute requests for patient appointments. Any delays in the pathway, including last-minute transportation of notes, can often result in delays in theatre starting.

“In addition, if something is flagged at the pre-op stage which could prevent a patient proceeding to surgery, consultants need to be able to access a digital pool of pre-op ready patients to fill any spaces in theatre lists.”

As part of the project, patients waiting for surgery will also be able to complete their POA health questionnaire at home via a secure link on the Trust’s website. Results are then sent to the Trust’s pre-operative assessment department where staff can triage and swim-lane patients into the correct fitness and readiness categories.

Mr Wilson added: “The Synopsis solution will allow us to meet a number of Trust targets, such as seeing and caring for patients virtually if appropriate, which is especially critical in the current climate. Synopsis is providing our patients with a better experience leading up to surgery, and one they feel in control of.”

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, our target to reduce the number of face-to-face appointments patients had to attend as well as reducing the miles travelled by our patients, highlighted the need for a digital pre-op pathway solution. Synopsis iQ and Synopsis Home is allowing us to further progress this target.”

Michael Applewhaite, Synopsis Sales Director, added: Implementing Synopsis iQ and Synopsis Home will enable the Trust to consolidate its POA process, while providing greater visibility of patients who are ready for surgery and supporting the Trust to create a more efficient way to book patients into theatre. “Synopsis will also assist the Trust during the ongoing pandemic by enabling staff to pre-op and triage patients without them having to come into the hospital.”

“I’d just like to thank the entire team at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust who have been a pleasure to work with throughout this process, and we look forward to working closely with them over the coming weeks.”

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