March 7, 2022

Big Idea: New perioperative portal launches

Another ‘Big Idea 2021’ is turning into reality today, with the perioperative portal officially launching.

Dr Jamie Mackay, Anaesthetist, had an idea for a portal that would help our health service communicate better with patients, in the lead up to surgery.

“Some of the troubles we had was getting timely information to our patients, in form of health questionnaires and getting that information back. There is a lot of information we need to get from patients and give back as well, in this stage of their journey,” he explained.

Big Ideas usually come from big motivations. For Jamie, the big motivation was helping patients know what to expect when they come into hospital for surgery.

“In my clinic, there are constantly things I want to say to my patients and brochures I want to give them. I also want to talk to them about smoking and their diet and exercise, but as clinicians, we have a limited amount of time with each patient. This is where the new portal will help. The portal will also host information about medication, helping patients understand what medications to start, stop or change in the perioperative period and clarify any confusions,” he added.

“One of the things we see in theatre is that patients sometimes don’t follow the instructions exactly right and that can happen for a number of reasons. To remove the language barriers and potential misunderstandings, we are planning to implement this portal in our most commonly spoken languages, as we know that around 20 per cent of patients requiring surgery need an interpreter,” he explained.

The new electronic patient portal will now streamline the whole perioperative process. The system is set up to ask patients to complete their health questionnaire electronically, give them reminders for their medications and clinical appointments, as well as information on what to expect when they come into hospital and what they can do to be at their best health when they have surgery.

“The reason why that is important is because we know that people who are better prepared and who have stopped their medications properly are at smaller risk of complications after the operation – you are home earlier, and you avoid some of the bigger complications. A lot of our patients are having surgery for the first time, and we help them understand things like why they need to stop smoking and similar,” Jamie explained.

For Jamie, the whole process from the initial ‘Big Idea’ submission, to the pitch to the Chief Executive and implementation was a huge learning curve that has helped him better understand how ideas come to life.

“We were lucky enough to get to the sprints stage, where we worked with the Project Management and Transformation office to help us turn these ideas into something concrete. We then went through a series of talks and lectures that were really helpful for a clinician like me, as it helped me understand how to make projects happen. The idea was then pitched to the CE, and then we went to the next stage to actually implement the idea – that happened in October last year,” he explained.

“As clinicians, we always have ideas, and the biggest challenge was knowing how to go about getting it done. ‘Big Idea’ allows you to put your ideas into practice, by giving you the skills you need to build your idea up and get it to the state where you are ready to make it happen. I am very excited – I think it will make a huge difference to the patient experience and the surgical journey – we are thrilled to see the first stage go live today,” Jamie added.

“The Transformation Unit is excited to see another 2021 Big Idea come to life. Jamie has work tirelessly over the past few months to implement this system. We are grateful to the Anaesthetics department for their support and IT for their assistance with this project,” said Cassie Bramston, Project Manager.

Do you have a ‘Big Idea’ you would like to turn into reality? The current round of the ‘Big Idea’ campaign is running until 20 March 2022. We encourage all staff to submit their ideas via Ideascale.