The Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network has moved on from a paper-based admission process for surgery patients to using digital pathways to enhance communication, patient risk assessments, and surgery preparation.
The regional health network provides public acute, residential aged care, community health and mental health services through 11 hospitals and health facilities across Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
BHFLHN has recently implemented Personify Care’s digital pathways, which have been customized for each site of the network. All its locations have varied and adjusted pathways based on their needs.
A digital pathway streamlines and individualizes communication of timely and relevant information with patients, including appointment times and reminders, patient education, COVID-19 screening and testing instruction, surgery date and time confirmation, 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.
So far, patients have given “very positive” feedback about the use of the digital pathway. They have also found it “helpful” with their hospitalization.
WHY IT MATTERS
With the implementation of Personify Care pathways, “the whole surgical journey has been positively impacted with improved efficiency and effectiveness of care, staff workload has reduced, increased access for patients to timely information and optimized theater utilization,” said Elective Surgery manager Kasey Irwin.
For example, the total time to prepare patients for admission went down from one hour to 12 minutes per patient. This includes the average time it takes to chase patients to fill out forms, clinical review of paper forms, triage of appropriate appointment times and dates, and contacting patients about admission times.
“Patient confirmation of attendance for surgery has improved,” Patient Admissions Administrator Jye Cameron also noted.
When it comes to postoperative care, there has been a major reduction in time for making calls to patients, 68% of which do not even require follow-up calls. Previously, about 20 minutes were spent on the phone per patient – and that’s not including attempts made to reach them. Given the number of surgery patients at BHFLHN, this improvement equates to 40 hours per week of staff time redistributed to nursing care.
“Our coordinated approach to surgical preparation gives critical time back to frontline staff to explore new ways to improve patient experience and share learnings to develop new ways of working,” Irwin shared.
Meanwhile, the network was able to bridge geographical and process gaps between medical officers and hospitals by incorporating Electronic Request for Surgical Admission from GP and other critical information and tasks for patients via the digital pathway.
THE LARGER TREND
Using Personify Care’s digital pathways, The Queen Elizabeth Hospitalalso from South Australia, was able to reduce waitlist times for their endoscopy patients by 71%.
Last year, Personify Care also delivered a digital platform at the St John of God Murdoch Hospital in Perth, which has enabled post-surgery home care for patients. In May this year, this service has been expanded to the surgical specialty wards of the hospital following its success in the general surgical wards.