How to Increase Scheduled Elective Surgery Capacity During & After COVID-19
As hospitals in Australia and New Zealand slowly increase elective surgery activity the reality of balancing planned, and emergency surgery once again becomes an increasing challenge. Add to this, the anticipated increase in overdue patients as a result of surgical restrictions during COVID-19 and the challenges increase for everyone involved in the processes of booking patients for surgery and managing waiting lists.
It is likely many patients will require reassessment since they were added to a waiting list to ensure they are still appropriately categorised, and their condition has not deteriorated.
The unprecedented cancellation of many elective procedures presents a challenge to the healthcare system to enable surgical capacity to not only deal with these backlogs and help bring waiting times back down but have the capability to ramp up and ramp down elective procedural capacity as the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs and flows over the many months and potentially years to come.
Other challenges to returning to 100% capacity include managing Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) at our hospitals, maintaining social distancing, and managing pre-procedure preparation for vulnerable patients.
Tackling these surgical/procedural backlogs and driving down wait times demands the creation of new surgical capacity in the system. Increases in capacity will require extensive planning, agility, and innovation. This can only be accomplished successfully and efficiently with an enabling technology.
Creating new surgical capacity can be achieved but is not as easy as some might think.
Surgeries involve a complex interdependency of highly skilled healthcare professionals, hospital resources, and even community-based resources.
The need to increase surgical/procedural capacity is now among the highest priorities for surgeons and proceduralists, hospitals, health managers, ministries of health and, most importantly, the patients who need this care.
Increasing Capacity by Using Novari ATC / eRFA Technology to Improve Efficiency
In addition to the possibility of increasing OT/ procedure suite hours, capacity can also be increased by leveraging modern web-based technology to better manage waiting lists while at the same time improving the co-ordination and utilisation of expensive surgical resources.
Technology exists that was designed to provide doctors, hospital managers, health authorities, and governments with tools to assist in the appropriate allocation of surgical/procedural capacity while optimising OT/procedure suite utilisation. The Novari ATC system, currently used at over 50 Canadian hospitals, increases surgical capacity by enabling hospitals and surgeons to complete more cases in the same amount of time.
Novari ATC technology helps to increase capacity and assists in ensuring the most efficient use of all available surgical time and resources. Leveraging real-time data from the hospital scheduling system (e.g. Cerner, etc.), Novari ATC enables the accurate booking of surgeon specific procedure times, daily block management for surgical suite productivity, standardised pre-procedure preparation, the ability to accommodate late case substitutions, and greatly reduces day-of-surgery cancellations.
“Our proven electronic request for admission and wait list management system is the right tool and the only tool available that provides stakeholders with the accurate and real time data they need to manage surgical wait times. The Novari ATC system removes paper from the surgical request for admission, pre-operative and scheduling processes. With integration to hospital scheduling systems, including Cerner and others, the tool improves workflows and operational efficiencies.”
– John Sinclair, CPHIMS, Chief Executive, Novari Health PTY Ltd
The Novari technology provides surgeons, hospitals, health districts, and ministries of health with realtime and accurate data on those waiting for surgery, thereby creating total transparency coupled with complete accountability. The technology gives administrators at every level a live window into overall, real-time surgical performance, leveraging key performance indicators (KPIs) such as surgical throughput, patient prioritisation, and the number of patients waiting for surgery sorted by doctor, wait time, service (e.g. orthopedics, surgical oncology, general surgery, vascular surgery, etc.), diagnosis, hospital, and region. This real-time data allows administrators to truly manage wait lists in real time, and to appropriately allocate and optimise surgical resources to best match the demand of backlogged cases.
The Novari ATC Technology
The made in Canada Novari ATC technology, built, and hosted on the Microsoft technology stack, is unique. No other such system exists anywhere. It integrates with a hospital’s existing surgical scheduling technologies regardless of brand (e.g. Cerner, etc.) and it provides hospitals and surgeons with capabilities that are needed now more than ever.
Novari ATC has been proven to increase surgical capacity by driving:
- a 45% to 65% reduction in day-of-surgery cancellations which dramatically reduces the amount of available OR time that goes unused each day because of last-minute cancellations.
- a 5% to 7% increase in the utilization of surgical capacity, meaning more cases completed at the same time.
- an up to 30% reduction in average wait times for critical procedures.
Novari ATC is regarded as a surgical system optimiser.
About Novari Health
Novari Health designs, builds, and implements award-winning cloud-based, enterprise scale software solutions that improve access to care, coordination of care, and the delivery of healthcare services. The Novari Access to Care software platform includes virtual care, eReferral, central intake, workflow management, electronic request for admission (eRFA), surgical waitlist management, and medical imaging requisition management modules. With offices in Sydney NSW, Auckland NZ, Canada and the United States the Novari team is comprised of physicians, nurses, former hospital administrators, software architects, software developers, project managers, certified professionals in Health Information and Management Systems, and client support. Novari Health is a Gold Microsoft Partner, with software solutions hosted on the Microsoft Azure Australian cloud data centres, for security and scalability. Novari Health has been independently assessed against internationally recognized standards showing our commitment to quality and assurance and is ISO 27001 Information Security Management System certified.