Admission to surgery now takes 12 minutes in this regional health network

The Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network has moved from a paper admission process for surgery patients to using digital pathways to enhance communication, assess patients’ risks and prepare for surgery.

The Regional Health Network provides general acute elderly care, residential care, community health and mental health services through 11 hospitals and health facilities across Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Florio and Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

what is it about

BHFLHN recently implemented Personify Care digital tracks, which are dedicated to each network site. All of their sites have varied and modified itineraries based on their needs.

The Digital Pathway simplifies and individualizes communication of relevant and timely information with patients, including appointment times and reminders, patient education, COVID-19 screening and testing instructions, confirmation of surgery date and time, advanced discharge plan, and feedback forms.

It also allows care teams to easily identify any patient concerns, surface cultural needs and detect clinical risks early on.

So far, patients have provided “very positive” feedback on the use of the digital pathway. They also found it “helpful” in their hospitalization.

why does it matter

By implementing personalized care pathways, “the entire surgical journey has been positively impacted by improved efficiency and effectiveness of care, staff workload has been reduced, patients have increased access to timely information and optimal use of the theater,” said Director of Elective Surgery Casey Irwin.

For example, the total time to prepare patients for admission decreased from 1 hour to 12 minutes per patient. This includes the average time it takes to pursue patients to fill out forms, clinical review of paper forms, arranging appropriate appointments and dates, and contacting patients about admission times.

Director of Patient Admissions J. Cameron also noted that “the patient’s assurance of attending surgery has improved.”

When it comes to postoperative care, there has been a significant reduction in call time for patients, 68% of which do not even require follow-up calls. Previously, about 20 minutes were spent on the phone for each patient – and this does not include attempts to reach them. Given the number of surgery patients at the BHFLHN, this improvement equates to 40 hours per week of staff time reallocated to nursing care.

“Our coordinated approach to surgical preparation gives critical time back to frontline staff to explore new ways to improve the patient experience and share knowledge to develop new ways of working,” said Irwin.

At the same time, the network has bridged geographic and operational gaps between medical officials and hospitals by integrating the electronic request for surgical admission from the GP and other important patient information and tasks via the digital pathway.

The biggest trend

With Personify Care digital pathways, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, also from South Australia, has reduced waiting times for their endoscopy patients by 71%.

Its digital pathways have also supported the provision of prenatal care in Qatar The Northern Adelaide LHN and Central Adelaide LHN’s Pre-Rehabilitation Rehabilitation Programme, which helps patients become fit for surgery.

Last year, Personify Care also introduced a digital platform at St John of God Murdoch Hospital in Perth, which made it possible to provide home care after surgery to patients. In May this year, this service was expanded to the hospital’s specialty surgical wards after its success in the general surgery wards.

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