NHS Highland to launch digital pre-operative pathway

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 23-Feb-2023

Electronic system can be viewed by multiple clinicians at the same time, increasing efficency and reducing cancellations

As part of its new National Treatment Centre opening in April, NHS Highland is launching a new digital pre-operative assessment pathway. 

One of the key benefits will be a move away from a paper-based system to a central electronic system, called Synopsis, which is fully auditable and can be viewed by multiple clinicians at the same time.

This new pathway will include a digital health questionnaire that patients can complete from home if they are able to.

Existing telephone and face-to-face appointments will also remain in place to ensure no patients are disadvantaged.

Kay Macgregor, clinical nurse manager for orthopaedics, pre-op assessment, and outpatients at NHS Highland, said: “NHS Highland is one of the 14 regions of NHS Scotland and, geographically, is the largest health board, covering an area 12,500 square miles and serving a population of approximately 320,000 people.

“With a high volume of patients living remotely, we want to introduce technology that allows patients to share information in their own time, rather than having to wait to be contacted by the service.

“In turn, this information can be used for by the pre-op team to support triage workflows and help ensure a better patient experience. 

“Crucially, having a central electronic record for all pre-operative assessments will benefit both surgical and anaesthetic specialties and hopefully provide an additional tool as services look to increase elective activity.”

Pete Beaumont, divisional sales director at VitalHub UK, parent company of Synopsis, added: “Rather than waiting for a patient to travel to hospital for their pre-operative assessment only to possibly discover they’re unfit for surgery just a few weeks before their operation, Synopsis lets patients submit their health questionnaire from home using their smartphone or tablet. 

“This means staff can identify any red-flag patients who are at risk of their surgery being cancelled much sooner and can then make appropriate healthcare interventions to ensure every operation stands the best-possible chance of going ahead as scheduled. 

“We are delighted to be working with NHS Highlands on this project, which will also help the health board manage its backlog of postponed operations as part of a much-more-efficient and streamlined workflow.” 

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