5 Simple Steps to Effective PreOp

A recent article reported that ‘February was the ‘toughest month to date’ for the NHS, making it clear that the healthcare sector must make better use of technology to successfully transition into the digital age’.  https://www.itproportal.com/features/mobile-first-technology-bringing-healthcare-into-the-digital-age/.

At Ultramed, we are focussed on helping hospitals switch from paper-led pre-operative assessment process to digital as smoothly as possible regardless of the motivation.

Whether a hospital has a large waiting list for pre-assessment and no capacity to increase appointments, is struggling to fill nursing vacancies or wishes to improve patient experience by helping them avoid multiple visits to the hospital with associated costs for travel, parking, childcare and potentially time off work, on-line, patient-owned preoperative assessment programs such as MyPreOp provide a technological solution to all of these issues.

MyPreOp program running on computer, tablet and smartphone

Decision makers at hospitals have multiple reasons for adopting a digital system – finance, capacity and information security are three of the main ones, but when it comes to implementation, the ones who need to be convinced are the front line staff who will be working with the software on a day to day basis.

Ultramed works with the hospital management, IT department and most importantly the assessment team to make the implementation as smooth and simple as possible.   From the outset, Ultramed will guide the hospital through the preparation and Go Live, and afterwards, are just a phone call away to help resolve any problems.

Pre-implementation preparation

All Ultramed products are cloud hosted, so no space is required on hospital servers, no pre-loading, no special equipment and no dedicated hardware.  All that has to happen before the system goes live is:

1.       Agreements and contracts need to be signed

Information governance, financial agreements and clinical algorithms must be signed off by finance managers, clinical managers, the IT department and Caldicott Guardian.  Whilst these are being agreed, the assessment team should review processes and activities that need to change in order to roll out the new system smoothly.

2.       A dedicated email address is created

This is the address that the pdf version of the Clinical Summary Report will arrive in, so must be accessible by the pre-op assessment team.  Dependent on the agreed procedure, anaesthetists and surgeons may also have access to the mailbox to review the summary report.  The process review should consider how the Summary Report will be reviewed and how other parties involved will access it.   

3.       Patient cards or patient letters agreed and supplied

Example of MyPreOp Patient Card

These provide information on how the patient accesses the program and include bespoke information for each unit including address, opening time, phone number and email address should the patient need to get in contact. 

4.       Initial and ongoing staff training and development

When the team is ready to go live, Ultramed provide training for the whole team.  This is a chance for the team to experience to process as a patient.  Once they have completed the program and submitted it, they then learn how to interpret the Clinical Summary Report that is generated.  At this point, final discussions take place on what processes and procedures need to be changed or put in place to make the most of the system.

5.       Go Live

On Day 1, Ultramed team members will be on site to help the preoperative staff support patients using the assessment program and iron out any issues.  Once the initial roll out is complete, Ultramed continues to provide support to maximise the benefit of the program in helping the staff tackle backlog, improve patient experience and focus on patient care.

 

Change can be scary.  Even if you know your current system isn’t working effectively or providing the best experience, the thought of implementing new systems and changing working practices can be daunting.

Rolling out Ultramed pre-operative programs such as MyPreOp is painless and can be done at a pace to suit each unit.  Whether you want to go all out and move all patients onto the new system at once, or choose to phase it in over a few weeks, the choice is yours.

At every step of the way, the Ultramed team are with you, supporting you to ensure services are not disrupted and implementation is smooth and successful. 

If you’d like to know more, please contact us by clicking here or email us at: [email protected]

To Boldly Go: The Future of Preoperative Assessment

Star Trek fans will be familiar with a virtual Doctor, Emergency Medical Hologram Mark 1 (EHM for short), but could a healthcare system involving assessments by holograms or voice activated technology be available now?  

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Amazon has set up a Health and Wellness division to explore ways that voice activated technology can help improve the management of health care in the home.  Alexa, already associated with planning shopping lists, playing music or controlling lighting, can integrate with devices and apps to help manage health related issues.

From helping patients with Type 2 Diabetes integrate new routines to improve their daily activities, to checking whether medication has been taken, improving patient experience in hospital and providing a ‘personal physician’ which uses advice and information from thousands of Doctors to engage with patients about their symptoms, Alexa can be linked to other programs and apps to offer alternatives for patients at home and in hospital.

No doubt Amazon are using their global reach to identify new technologies and advances that could link with Alexa to provide real benefits to patients around the world.  The success of MyPreOp, the online preoperative assessment tool, suggests that this could be the next area to attract the interest of Amazon. 

Imagine you are told you need an operation.   You’ve been struggling with a painful knee, and your Consultant advises you to have an arthroscopy.  The next step is to work out if you are healthy enough to undergo surgery, and whether there are any issues which could impact on its success.  In most hospitals, this is done via a face to face meeting with a PreOperative nurse who asks you a series of questions about your health and how you live, as well as taking some tests such as blood pressure and height and weight.

MyPreOp is an online version of this review, with complex algorithms designed to thoroughly explore health conditions and provide clinicians with a clear, consistent and unbiased summary report.  As the questionnaire is completed online and by the patient, it is not reliant on the availability of skilled staff and can be done in the hospital, at home or wherever the patient chooses.

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At the moment, patients enter their information into a computer, tablet or phone, but just imagine how easy it would be to get these questions asked by an intelligent personal assistant such as Alexa.  You could be preparing dinner whilst being asked questions about your home, your operation and your health.

By linking the program with other devices, your blood pressure is checked and your height and weight are checked.  Simple blood tests could be taken in the same way as diabetes patients check their sugar levels, with a device that will identify anything of concern.  Recent links to medical records held by your GP could confirm your medical history and flag any issues.

So, in future, instead of multiple trips to hospital, perhaps we will be able to sit at home, talking to our voice activated assistant, or even our own version of a hologram, to complete our assessment. With remote diagnostics, it may even be that the first time we visit the hospital is to have the operation.  Think of all the saved journeys involved, how much less money would be spent on parking and how much more time would be available for other things?

So come on down Emergency Medical Hologram, beam us up to the future of preop assessment and let’s explore the ‘strange new world’ of medicine and healthcare in the 21st Century!

Innovation award win for Ultramed

 

Ultramed are very pleased to have accepted the 2019 award for innovation in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain for the MyPreOp program. The award was presented to Dr Paul Upton on the 11th January at the Association of Anaesthetists Winter Scientific Meeting, by Dr Kathleen Ferguson, president of the Association. Dr Ferguson said on presenting the award: said: “It takes a special skill set to be inventive and even greater grit and determination to see the idea through to reality and then implementation. The Association recognises and applauds its innovation stars.”

Dr Paul Upton accepting the innovation award from Dr Kathleen Ferguson

Dr Paul Upton accepting the innovation award from Dr Kathleen Ferguson

On receiving the award, Dr Upton said: “I’m stunned to have won. It came as a great surprise. As a team we see this win as an opportunity to get MyPreOp rolled out across the NHS.”

What a fantastic start to 2019 for Ultramed!

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MyPreOp: First full implementation of 2019 goes live

 

Ultramed starts 2019 with an exciting announcement.  Following a 4-year development and testing period, the company are delighted to confirm that the first full implementation of their flagship product, MyPreOp, is taking place at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in January.

From an outline concept back in 2014, Ultramed have developed, tested and launched their range of pre-operative assessment tools which remove the need for lengthy face to face assessment appointments prior to operations or procedures.  The team have worked closely with each of the trial sites to fine tune the products, ensure they are fit for purpose and provide the information required for clinical decision making.

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Chertsey, Surrey was one of the early adopters in the trial phase of MyPreOp.   The pre-operative assessment department started testing MyPreOp in January 2018 and quickly saw their daily usage climb to be one of the highest and most consistent take up by patients of the 8 trial sites around the UK.

Ashford and St Peters provide a ‘one-stop’ appointment system for patients.  As soon as they have been given the decision to treat by the Consultant, patients are directed to the Pre-Op department where they are weighed and measured and have their blood pressure taken.  Patients are then given the option of completing MyPreOp in the unit, or later on remotely.

As a result of these extensive trials, Ashford and St Peters have decided to proceed to full implementation of MyPreOp with an option to include MyPreOpLA in the near future.  Ultramed has worked closely with the team at Ashford and St Peters to ensure the products provide the information and detail required by the staff to make sound clinical assessments.

Clinical Service Manager for Theatres, Critical Care, Resus and POAC, Den Hallett said:  ” We are very excited about introducing MyPreOp into the Trust and are really looking forward to working with the team and getting the most out of MPO to improve our patient and nursing experience. There are lots of opportunities with using MPO and we look forward to developing these to get the best from the patient pathway”

2019 looks like it will be a very exiting year from Ultramed.  Alongside the full implementation at Ashford and St Peters, the team is preparing to sign agreements with a number of other NHS and private hospitals in the UK, alongside responding to a high level of interest from overseas.

Steph Sutch, PreOp Sister

Steph Sutch, PreOp Sister