The Fast Track to Preoperative Readiness | Takeaways from HCP19

By Rick Halton, VP Product & Marketing, Lumeon

At the Health Connect Partners Reverse Expo in Kansas City, Missouri, earlier this week, the 15+ perioperative surgery leaders I spoke to had one resounding message: There are enormous benefits to fast-tracking otherwise healthy patients into surgery. This strategy services healthy patients with less hassle, while reducing the workload on pre-admission testing (PAT) teams so they can focus on more complex patients.

Today’s one-size-fits-all approach to preoperative readiness treats all patients the same irrespective of their risks, preferences, and compliance history. It places the burden on the preoperative team to book the patient into the PAT center, perform all tests, and chase down missing information or data. This heavy-handed approach is frequently costly and time-consuming, not to mention unnecessary. It obscures visibility of readiness for surgery as the preop staff members are stuck chasing their tails trying to figure out what and who they need to prioritize next.

According to those I spoke with, health systems tend to have a major issue with at least one of the following, if not all three:

  • Patients not reliably following their PAT process
  • The escalating cost of their PAT process
  • The cost of the late cancellations and delays

Perioperative leaders would prefer a different system that tasks the preop team to follow up with patients, help them make timely decisions, find order gaps, and complete priority activities before it’s too late. They recognize that that the PAT process is not just about documenting care or a simple EHR checklist, but about adapting care activities around the needs of each patient. But they lack a system that can help them do this effectively.

How would such a system look? It would assess each patient ahead of any appointments and triage them according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status classification system. Those with ASA I status could be fast-tracked into surgery, while those with ASA II and ASA III status would receive a blend of over-the-phone or in-person assessments, depending on their risks and needs.

Lumeon’s clients estimate that between 40-50% of patients are healthy and can be fast-tracked for surgery. These patients can bypass the resource-intensive testing process and largely be managed through digital touchpoints. This approach frees up the PAT team to focus on those patients who are most in need and help them better coordinate activity tailored to the needs of each individual patient.

Additionally, Lumeon data shows that the cost of PAT testing can be $290 per patient. Fast-tracking 50% of patients into surgery can save an eye-popping amount of money. It’s a simple yet powerful business case that caught the attention of many at the HCP Reverse Expo.

How much do you think your surgery center would save every year if you optimized your PAT processes? I’d love to find out how you are working to achieve these savings. Get in touch.