Synopsis Blog

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has launched a complete digital pre-operative assessment process, including a digital health questionnaire for elective surgery patients to complete at home.

The move comes as part of the Trust’s drive to reduce the number of patients attending hospital for a full pre-operative assessment (POA), increase pre- operative capacity and enable patients to see the right nurse, at the right time, for the right amount of time. Enabling patients to complete the questionnaire in the comfort of their own home also supports reducing the amount of face-to-face contact between patients and staff, particularly in the light of COVID-19.

Patients can now begin the pre-op assessment process from home

Patients waiting for operations across the Trust can now complete their patient history questionnaire at home using a link on the Trust’s website using their tablet, PC or smartphone.

The 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.

Rachel Foley, Senior Sister Pre-Operative Assessment Countywide, WRH Theatre Admission Unit at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, explained:

“We had found ourselves spending an increasing amount of time assessing patients that were fit for surgery and so did not actually require an hour appointment for a pre-operative assessment in hospital, whereas some patients needed longer than an hour with a member of the team.

“To help identify these fit and healthy patients and drive down unnecessary POA attendances, we worked alongside Intouch with Health to launch Synopsis Home.

“Our elective surgery patients can now complete their health history questionnaire from the comfort of their own home, in their own time, then submit the answers in real-time to our clinical teams. Frequent attenders will also be able to copy forward some parts of their pre-op assessments.

“After assessing the answers, our clinical staff can then quickly triage and separate the patients that are fit and ready for their operation and don’t require a full POA in hospital from those that do. Staff also benefit from referrals and replies being contained within one system, alongside completed risk assessments.”

Ms Foley also said that the system would help the Trust maintain social distancing practises while COVID-19 is still front of mind. She added:

“Synopsis Home is supporting us to reduce unnecessary POA visits, so we can lower the number of patients in waiting rooms at any one time. This will be especially beneficial as we tackle the backlog of elective surgery postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Launching the complete digital pre-op assessment process

The launch of Synopsis Home at the Trust is also underpinned by its recent introduction of Synopsis iQ, the leading digital pre-operative assessment platform. Synopsis iQ has consolidated and replaced the three separate systems the Trust was previously using to coordinate pre-operative assessments. This cohesive process provides the tools and workflow to assess patients digitally, efficiently, and accurately. Synopsis iQ also includes decision support with an ASA, POSPOM and many other clinical scores, as well as automating time-consuming tasks.

Ms Foley added:

“Synopsis iQ allows those patients who do attend hospital for their POA to complete their health questionnaire digitally with the results made available immediately for triage staff. This ensures we work paper-light within pre-op and work towards a patient digital care record.”

She continued:

“Earlier POA interventions using Synopsis iQ and Synopsis Home are allowing us to identify patients at high risk of being unfit for their operation and intervene sooner and with more effective medical input to ensure they stand the very best chance of their surgery going ahead.

“This also helps improve patient experience. Current wait times for surgery can be lengthy, and if a patient is told last minute they are unfit, it can be very frustrating.

Michael Applewhaite, Synopsis Regional Sales Director at Intouch with Health, added:

“The Trust was previously using three separate systems to manage the POA pathway, which was unwieldy for staff to access and created integration issues.

“A key issue was that, while the previous software captured some of the POA, it couldn’t capture activities or additional information. This meant this information was disparate, held in silos, in separate software applications resulting in no integrated auditing and no version history.

“Implementing Synopsis iQ and Synopsis Home has enabled the Trust to consolidate the separate POA processes into one area, while capturing all stages of the process.

“I’d just like to thank the entire team at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust who have been a pleasure to work with throughout this process. We’re thrilled with the reception both Synopsis iQ and Synopsis Home have been greeted with, and the difference they are already having in the department.”

About Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust provides hospital-based services from three main sites – the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre, and Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester.

The Trust provides a wide range of services to a population of 580,000 people in Worcestershire as well as caring for patients from surrounding counties and further afield. On average, Worcestershire Royal Hospital completes 14,000 pre-operative assessment each year.