Patients coming in for a procedure at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital will soon be able to complete their pre-assessment questionnaire at home to reduce the number of visits to hospital.

Traditionally these questionnaires, designed to collect up to date information about current medication, recent medical history, lifestyle choices such as alcohol intake and smoking habits, allergies and similar details are carried out face to face. 

The clinic can sometimes take up to an hour with an experienced clinician and is paper based so the move to a take home digital questionnaire will help to free up clinic time, reduce unnecessary visits to hospital and help in the hospital’s efforts to create more paperless records.

Stacie Wilson is the Service Manager for Surgical Support Services, she said: “It is a change in the current process so patients who have come in for an operation before may notice the differing approach. When it has been established that you need to come in for a procedure, your height, weight, bloods and general observations will be taken in hospital as usual but that’s where things will change.

“Usually pre-assessment checks are taken when you have a date for your procedure but now that won’t necessarily be the case. You may be sent home with a request to complete your pre-assessment questionnaire at home before you have a procedure date as we hope that this will make it easier for us to make better use of cancelled slots and reduce the potential for a delay in your surgery date.

“The assessment itself is no different to how it was before, we will just ask you do it online instead. You will be given a card with a link to log onto the secure MyPreOp site along with a unique code that will allow us to link your answers to your records. The questions will be to determine your recent medical history, lifestyle choices and personal details and will take around 45 minutes to complete. There is a number for you to call if you have any problems and we ask that the form is completed within 48 hours of you being given your card.

“There are exemptions to this, for example patients with learning difficulties or a sensory impairment that may make it difficult for them to complete a form, with suitability assessed whilst the observations are taken. For those who do not have access to the right IT equipment or who do not feel confident completing it online, there will be the option to complete the questionnaire over the phone with one of our pre-assessment staff, but for the majority of our patients face to face completion will be by exception. We hope that this new way of working will ensure fewer delays for those awaiting surgery, enable a more efficient way of filling late-notice cancellation slots on theatre lists and a more convenient way of completing the pre-assessment for our patients.”

The digital form is being piloted within Gynaecology over the coming weeks and, if it’s successful, will be rolled out to other specialties across the Trust.