Empowering surgical patients before operation: A digital approach

Undergoing surgery is a pivotal moment for patients, and timely education plays a crucial role in reducing anxiety and ensuring preparedness. Empowering surgical patients before the operation is key, as active patient involvement can significantly contribute to better preparation, avoiding empty theatres, faster recovery and allowing care teams to manage more patients with the same resources. This becomes especially relevant in addressing elective surgery backlogs, waiting list management and staff shortages, where digital care coordination platforms can offer effective solutions to support hospitals.

Transitioning to digital patient education

Pre- and post-operative patient education is essential as it increases self-management,
adherence, and satisfaction. It helps patients understand their condition, and the care plan identifies and manages potential complications and reduces hospital readmissions (source). Patient education is an essential care component as it is a means to increase self-management, adherence, and satisfaction. Traditional methods using written materials and verbal guidance have inherent limitations, including inconsistencies, information gaps and lack of tools to stay connected in the long waiting lists.

Automating patient education for empowerment

Integrating automation into patient education and data capturing becomes imperative to address challenges such as waiting list management and truly focus on empowering surgical patients before the operation. Buddy Healthcare's platform is a prime example, automating patient communication with surgical patients and delivering timed pre-operative instructions, exercises, and assessments at optimal intervals. This empowers patients to actively engage in self-care, ultimately contributing to improved fitness for surgery and needed overall preparation.


Digital pre-operative assessment: Empowering patients at home

In today’s digital age, the traditional approach to collecting pre-operative data through physical appointments or phone calls is outdated. To truly embrace empowering surgical patients before the operation, Buddy Healthcare's digital pre-op assessment allows patients to conveniently submit assessments from their homes, saving nurses time. Also, reaching working-age patients during the day can be difficult, and patients often prefer avoiding unnecessary hospital visits. Buddy Healthcare's digital pre-op assessment streamlines this process, enabling patients to submit assessments from home from a mobile app. This reduces administrative workload and enhances efficiency in the pre-operative phase.


Benefits of pre-operative patient empowerment - real-life examples

Having provided an overview of how today's digital technologies can empower patients and automate manual care coordination work, you might wonder if empowering surgical patients to self-care is worth the effort. From our client hospitals' perspective, the transformation has paid off. Since 2016, we've collaborated with hospitals to digitise their pre and post-operative pathways. This empowerment of patients to self-care, coupled with the incorporation of automation, has resulted in significant benefits.

Several partner hospitals reported saving over one hour in pre-operative time per patient and reducing 98% of pre-operative process-related phone calls. This has been particularly crucial in addressing issues related to staff shortages. You can explore our case study here.

Additionally, NHS Lanarkshire, one of our customer hospitals, achieved impressive results using a digital pre-operative assessment process. Almost half (45%) of patients assigned to a digital care pathway could avoid visiting the hospital before surgery. This starkly contrasts their previous "paper-based" system, which required every patient, regardless of their fitness for surgery, to attend a physical hospital appointment to answer pre-operative assessment questions with a nurse. Further details can be found in our case study.

Digital surgical patient empowerment standardises both pre and postoperative care coordination efficiently, ensuring equal patient guidance. It supports patients in preparation and prehabilitation and drives hospitals' operational efficiency, helping hospitals tackle challenges like shortening and waiting lists. This blog focused on surgical patient empowerment in the pre-operative phase. Still, post-operative empowerment is equally important, ensuring patients can discharged early and monitored in a virtual ward. 

Empowering surgical patients