NHS Highland is launching a new digital pre-operative assessment pathway to help ensure the feasibility of every planned operation going ahead. 

The new system, Synopsis, will be used as part of NHS Highland’s National Treatment Centre, set to open in Inverness in April. The central electronic system will be fully auditable and can be used by multiple users simultaneously.

Stepping away from a paper-based system, the pathway will include a digital health questionnaire that can be completed by patients at home if they’re able to. To ensure no patient is disadvantaged, existing telephone and in-person appointments will remain in place.

Kay Macgregor, clinical nurse manager for orthopaedics, pre-op assessment and outpatients at NHS Highland, said: “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.”

Macgregor also points out that having a central electronic record for all pre-operative assessments will deliver benefits to both surgical and anaesthetic specialities as it can help identify those patients who may have their surgery cancelled earlier.

Interventions can be made by healthcare staff to try to ensure every operation’s potential to go ahead is maximised.

Pete Beaumont, divisional sales director at VitalHub UK, parent company of Synopsis, said: “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 they 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.”

In August 2021 Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust announced its plans to use the Synopsis platform to manage digital pre-operative assessments across three hospital sites.