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Innovative preoperative assessment questionnaire wins regional accolade


2 February, 2017  

An online questionnaire providing doctors and nurses at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with timely access to information about whether patients are fit enough to undergo anaesthetic for a planned operation has won a sought-after regional innovation award.

Developed by clinicians at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the Electronic Personal Assessment Questionnaire (ePAQ-PO) picked up the top prize in the ‘Using Technology to Improve Efficiency’ category at the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network’s Innovation, Improvement and Impact awards.

The cutting-edge technology, which is in use at both the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospitals, enables patients to self-complete elements of their preoperative assessment, such as their medical history or the medication they are taking, on a dedicated bank of computers.

This allows patients to complete their preoperative assessment on the same day as their outpatient appointment with the surgeon – avoiding a return visit to hospital – and freeing up appointments for patients who need specific additional tests such as an electrocardiogram, a specialist test which detects problems with the heart. Before the system was introduced, patients would have to wait several weeks before seeing their surgeon after completing their preoperative assessment.

Caroline Eadson, Improvement Facilitator at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are honoured to have received recognition for this innovative project, which is reducing the time fit patients going in for planned surgery undertake vital preoperative assessments on the day of their admission to hospital and ensured that those with more complex medical needs receive timely preoperative assessment care prior to anaesthesia and surgery. The system was developed in house and is now in use throughout the Trust’s surgical specialities so to have been held up as an example of excellent practice by the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network is a privilege.”

The Trust’s Seamless Surgery was also highly commended by the judges in the ‘Improving Care through Innovation or Improvement Award’. Since it was introduced, staff working in different areas of the planned surgery process, including theatres and recovery, have devised systems which have joined-up communications and planning in the process, reducing delays and potential cancellations.

Rebecca Joyce, Service Improvement Director, for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted that two teams working on service improvement have been nominated for these important regional awards. These are exciting programmes that have resulted in a number of improvements to patient care, and ensured that even more patients going in for planned surgery are receiving timely, efficient care.”