NHS Fife is working with Buddy Healthcare to develop a digital pre-op pathway that will improve communication between patients and clinical teams and maximise clinic and theatre capacity.

The Scottish health board has adopted a mobile app and a digital platform, which they call ELSIE, to allow orthopaedic patients to complete assessments, and for clinicians to use the data to make the best possible use of outpatient clinic and theatre time.

The pre-operative team is able to review the information patients submit via the app and also respond to any queries or questions. In addition, a timeline feature allows them to automatically send patients advice on preparing for their surgery.

The Buddy Healthcare platform and app is a full, digital pre-operative solution that supports waiting list management, post-op follow-up and PROMS collection. It is helping to streamline the traditional surgical pathway and automate manual, paper processes. This allows clinical teams to optimise waiting list management and improve pre- and post-op procedures.

Some patients are able to avoid attending the hospital altogether for their pre-operative assessment as it can be carried out via the app. For those that still need to attend, the process is quicker, as some information can be collected ahead of the appointment through the app.

Neil Shaw, anaesthetic consultant at NHS Fife, said: “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.”

Patients who are scheduled for an orthopaedic procedure receive a link to download the app via a text message. Should a patient not have a mobile phone or be tech-confident, they are able to do a pre-assessment questionnaire over the phone or in person at an outpatient appointment.

NHS Fife is the second Scottish health board to adopt the ELSIE platform and app, following the successful deployment of the technology at NHS Lanarkshire.

Scott Gibson, delivery and operations director for Buddy Healthcare UK, said: “We are delighted to be working with the health board on a project that is changing the way clinicians interact with patients.

“Individuals can use the ELSIE mobile app to prepare for surgery in the comfort of their own homes, while clinicians can collect more holistic information about their health and wellbeing.

“Then, they can use that information to make the best use of the capacity that is available and to deliver the best possible outcomes for them. The potential is huge.”

In May, NHS Fife announced it had extended its use of Cambric Systems’ Morse EPR, allowing non-Morse users to view patient appointments via its central Health and Social Care Portal supplied by Orion Health.