NHS Fife is developing a digital pre-op pathway for orthopaedic patients involving the use of a mobile app.
It is working with Buddy Healthcare as the second Scottish health board to adopt its ELSIE (Electronic Pre-Operative Assessment App) platform and app.
It enables patients to provide information for assessments on the app and clinicians to use the data in outpatient clinics and operating theatres.
Patients who are scheduled for an orthopaedic procedure receive a text message with a link to download the app, which can also be used by nominated relatives and carers.
The pre-operative team can review information submitted by patients and respond to questions and queries. They can also use a timeline feature to automatically send patients advice on how to prepare for surgery.
In some cases, patients will be able to carry out their pre-operative assessments via the app and may not have to attend hospital until the date of the surgery, avoiding the need for multiple hospital visits. Buddy Healthcare said this means that, for those who do need to attend in-person, appointment times can be shorter.
Travelling time factor
Neil Shaw, an anaesthetic consultant at NHS Fife, said: “We cover a huge area, so some of our patients have to make long journeys to reach us.
“Despite this, our traditional way of working was to offer every patient the same pre-assessment appointment, whether they needed longer, because they were high risk, or they didn’t need it at all, because they were fit and well.
“The ELSIE electronic pre-operative assessment app means we can focus appointments on the patients who may be at higher risk of complications. This allows us to address health issues before their operation, making surgery safer, which should help to reduce short notice cancellations.
"We also aim to create a list of people who are ready for their operations who can be called in at short notice to fill empty slots.”