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Gloucestershire Business News

Cirencester tech firm secures contract with NHS Trust

Cirencester healthcare technology company Intouch with Health has secured a contract to launch its digital pre-operative assessment software at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

Intouch's Synopsis Home software includes a digital health questionnaire the trust will use to ask patients waiting for operations to complete in their own home.

The move comes as part of the trust's drive to reduce the number of patients attending hospital for a full pre-operative assessment (POA), increase pre-operative capacity and enable patients to see the right nurse at the right time.

It will also help the trust, which completes an average of 14,000 pre-operative assessments each year, to reduce the amount of face-to-face contact between patients and staff, particularly in light of COVID-19.

Patients waiting for operations at Worcestershire Royal Hospital can complete their patient history questionnaire at home using a link sent from the trust to their tablet, PC or smartphone.

The results are sent to the trust's pre-operative assessment department where staff can triage and swim lane patients into the correct fitness and readiness categories.

Rachel Foley, senior sister for pre-operative assessment at the theatre admission unit, said: "We had found ourselves spending an increasing amount of time assessing patients that were fit for surgery and so did not actually require an hour appointment for a pre-operative assessment in hospital, whereas some patients needed longer than an hour with a member of the team.

"To help identify these fit and healthy patients and drive down unnecessary POA attendances, we worked alongside Intouch with Health to launch Synopsis Home.

"Our elective surgery patients can now complete their health history questionnaire from the comfort of their own home, in their own time, then submit the answers in real-time to our clinical teams. Frequent attenders will also be able to copy forward some parts of their pre-op assessments.

"After assessing the answers, our clinical staff can then quickly triage and separate the patients that are fit and ready for their operation and don't require a full POA in hospital from those that do. Staff also benefit from referrals and replies being contained within one system, alongside completed risk assessments."

Ms Foley added that the system would help the trust maintain social distancing practises while COVID-19 is still front of mind.

She said: "Synopsis Home is supporting us to reduce unnecessary POA visits, so we can lower the number of patients in waiting rooms at any one time. This will be especially beneficial as we tackle the backlog of elective surgery postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic."

The launch of Synopsis Home at the trust is also underpinned by its recent introduction of Synopsis iQ, a fully digital pre-operative assessment platform.

The platform has replaced the three separate systems the trust previously used to coordinate pre-operative assessments. It also includes decision support with an ASA, POSPOM and many other clinical scores.

Ms Foley added: "Synopsis iQ allows those patients who come to the hospital for their POA to complete their health questionnaire digitally with the results made available immediately for triage staff. This ensures we work paper-light within pre-op and work towards a patient digital care record."

"Earlier POA interventions are allowing us to identify patients at high risk of being unfit for their operation and intervene sooner and with more effective medical input to ensure they stand the very best chance of their surgery going ahead.

"This also helps improve patient experience. Current wait times for surgery can be lengthy, and if a patient is told last minute they are unfit, it can be very frustrating."

Michael Applewhaite, Synopsis regional sales director at Intouch with Health, said: "The trust was previously using three separate systems to manage the POA pathway, which was unwieldy for staff to access and created integration issues.

"A key problem was that, while the previous software captured most of the POA, it couldn't capture activities or additional information. This meant this information was added in a separate piece of software which was not audited and had no version history."

Intouch with Health acquired the business and assets of software developers Synopsis Healthcare back in August 2019, with its products added to its existing portfolio.

Mr Applewhaite added: "Implementing Synopsis iQ and Synopsis Home has enabled the trust to bring the POA process into one area, while capturing all stages of the process."

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