Digitising the pre-operative assessment process at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has delivered “massive benefits” across its three hospitals, according to the trust’s head of pre-op, Dr Caroline Pritchard – including supporting collaborative, multisite working as staff across the trust can simultaneously access digital pre-op patient records.
Dr Pritchard explained: “The pandemic increased the number of patients presenting for surgery simply unfit or with multiple, poorly controlled, medical conditions. Our paper-based pre-op process was also viewed as a ‘black box’, as neither admin nor surgical teams were able to routinely review the progress of their patients to help them plan their theatre lists, unless they physically held the paper pack.”
In 2022, Buckinghamshire partnered with digital pre-op specialist, Synopsis, to launch its Synopsis iQ and Synopsis Home solutions, allowing patients to complete a digital pre-op questionnaire at home, and the trust to reduce the use of paper pre-op records across its three hospitals.
Dr Pritchard said: “Going digital with pre-op has delivered significant benefits across the trust. We no longer have to move paper notes between our three hospital sites or wait for notes to be scanned to the EPR, and there are no problems locating notes on the day of surgery. All of the pre-op assessment information is readily available online, trust-wide.
“We can easily triage patients into fitness and readiness categories ahead of surgery, and reasons why patients are not fit for surgery is now visible immediately to the whole surgical team. We can also plan and staff our clinics to match workload, because the requirement for anaesthetic input as a notes review or face-to-face clinic is now visible.”
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is a major provider of integrated hospital and community services for people living in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties, providing care to over half a million patients every year. In addition, the trust provides specialist spinal services at its world-renowned National Spinal Injuries Centre for patients across England, and internationally.
The trust is one of the first integrated acute and community providers in the country, and is the major provider of specialist, acute and community healthcare services for the people of Buckinghamshire.
The pre-operative department is spread over three hospitals; Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe and Amersham.