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UHNM is the first Trust in the UK to introduce new patient online check-in before surgery

University Hospitals of North Midlands is the first hospital Trust in the UK to introduce a new online electronic check-in process for patients who are scheduled for surgery.

The innovative solution allows patients to check-in online three weeks before their operation and is designed to help to significantly reduce cancellations on the day of surgery which in turn will reduce delays in treatment and maximise the use of theatres at the Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital, Stafford.

A link is sent by email and text message for patients to answer questions regarding their availability and any changes in their health or medications. Any issues are picked up and resolved by secretaries and clinicians before the surgery.

Dr Veera Gudimetla, UHNM Consultant Anaesthetist and project lead, and Surgery Division Clinical Information Officer, said: “We have been working on surgery check-in project at UHNM for the last four years. We sincerely hope that this will improve communication between patients, clinicians and secretarial staff and result in fewer cancellations on the day of surgery.

“This will also allow secretaries to pick up cancellations well ahead of time and allocate the slots to other people waiting on the list. I am really proud to see this idea become a reality thanks to UHNM IT and Nexalus teams. We are very proud of our team achievement.”

The project is expected to run for six months and the results will be regularly reviewed to assess effectiveness.

Phil Windsor, UHNM Head of Operations – Surgical Division, said: “As we strive to reduce elective surgical waiting times for our patients post pandemic, we are acutely aware of the need for innovative and creative approaches to maximise use of our theatres. The collaborative development of this software solution is a really exciting opportunity to do exactly this while also keeping in very close communication with our patients. Early identification of intent and potential cancellations enables us to re-schedule and backfill theatre slots that could otherwise go unfilled.”

Patients who do not have access to internet and therefore not able to use it are flagged up by the system for immediate secretarial attention.