The latest data published by the Ministry of Health in Spain showed record-breaking figures for surgical delays, with an average waiting time of 170 days. These statistics were presented last November which corresponded to June of the same year, at a time when our health system had not even begun to face the third wave. Today, experts and medical professionals predict that the situation is even more serious.
According to Antonio Cabrera, secretary-general of the Union of Workers Commission and Health Federation (CC.OO. by its acronym in Spanish), it is possible that the number of operations currently waiting to be performed exceeds one million. These figures continue to grow every day as hospitals and health personnel dedicate all their efforts to fight against COVID-19, without having many more resources available for so many other pathologies that the population continues to suffer from.
In fact, this situation is not only happening in Spain, countries such as the United Kingdom are also suffering from this consequence of the Pandemic and the figures continue growing. According to data published by the BBC, this scenario could reach 10 million patients by April.
In Spain, surgical operations delays are nothing new, in fact, it has been a health-system challenge for years. However, its persistence aggravated to a large extent by the pandemic, and the risk of these waiting-times becoming chronic has led medical professionals and health-tech experts to call for specific action plans to address the issue as soon as possible.
Plans should not only be able to reduce waiting times for surgical procedures but also to make them as efficient as possible and eventually disappear.
Among some measures adopted by certain Spanish regions; the most common has been the referral of surgical-procedures through agreements with private health institutions and the augment in surgical activity by increasing Staff remuneration because of their extending working hours in order to enhance surgical attention.
However, these contingency plans have not changed the situation, since the effort falls back again on the health personnel who continuously fight and giving their best in the fight against COVID.
It is precisely in this path of restoring normality that digital transformation and cutting-edge technology could be the catalyst that supports professionals in their work, taking them out of a lot of stress and allows focus on what they do best: The patient cares.
Despite the fact that healthcare digitalization is an implementation reality in more hospitals every day, the pandemic has dealt a hard blow to the Spanish National Health System, highlighting the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done.
MYSPHERA®, The Key-Ally in reducing waiting lists
Since the founding of MYSPHERA® in 2012, their fundamental objective has always been to improve, optimize and facilitate the work of medical professionals and, consequently, to improve the quality of patient care. A goal that has become even more important with the events of the last year and the collateral impact of the pandemic on the healthcare systems.
Take action is a vital way in the fight against the pandemic and its collateral damage to many other patients with different diseases. It is at this time that the action plans of the authorities and competent government bodies cannot leave aside the role played by digital transformation technologies that make it possible to optimize fundamental areas as the surgical block.
Tools like ORVital® are a game-changer in the health-care process, adding safety for patients, eliminating unproductive tasks through the synchronization of human and material resources showing the different stages of the process in real-time to improve the quality and safety of medical care.
An increase in efficiency is based on a Lean health-care management system and Agile decision-making that has a direct impact on surgical performance, quality, safety, and, therefore, on waiting lists.
ORVital® ORs Solution has proven results in reference centers such as the Vall d’Ebron Hospital in Barcelona (+20 ORs), with important data such as a 12% increase in general surgical performance and almost 40% on specific surgical procedures automation like cataracts. Figures that would mean that the operating theatres worked the equivalent of a year of thirteen months and a half if we compare it with previous periods and an outstanding ROI of +500%
How is Data collected?
◆ Secure Identification of the Patients: The first step is to reduced review times by professionals, meanwhile most of the time on Surgical Block patients are sedated or under some type of anesthesia.
◆ Real-Time Information Displays of patients, area and procedures schedule: It is vital to know the status of the Surgical Block and to be able to make quick and efficient decisions.
◆ Automated tasks, alerts and call-to-action messages for the different actors in the surgical unit process: To achieve perfectly balanced communication between the different work areas involved in the entire surgical process (surgery, nursing, porters, cleaning team, etc.), reducing downtime and eliminating verbal instructions.
◆ Data analysis tools that allow the study of the process by professionals for its subsequent improvement and updated Business-Intelligence infographics for management areas decision making.
◆ Information to relatives through information panels and the Virtual Waiting Room App: This eliminates the anxiety generated by not knowing the status of a relative and, in turn, reduces the interruptions that doctors and nurses may suffer from relatives wishing to receive information.
◆ It communicates with the intelligent building system of the operating theatres to reduce lighting and air conditioning costs, activating the different modes when the room is not in use, waiting for cleaning or active usage, representing up to 30% off on power costs.
In addition to all this, one of the latest innovations incorporated into the ORVital® system is a surgical programmer that allows:
◆ Create a Fully Automated Schedule based on different parameters and Data obtained as average surgery time of each surgeon, kind of procedure, average extended time or early finished per procedure, etc. creating and optimized surgical schedules to reduce waiting-lists as efficient as possible.
◆ Easy management and approval of the scheduling by the administrative and surgical team based on real-time parameters.
◆ Possibility of creating new automatic schedules to cover proposals that have not been confirmed by the patient allowing changes derived from emergency procedures or last-minute changes.
ORVital® can relief an overburdened hospital system and staff by improving daily workflow through efficient management and improved cooperation between all areas and actors in the process.
Reducing waiting lists is a complex challenge, but it is possible that it can only be achieved through the acceptance and integration of new technologies and working methodologies where the patient is at the centre of the clinical process.