Automating the perioperative process to Increase Safety and Reduce Cost

February 12, 2012

Rethinking IT Support.

A limiting factor in success with IT in healthcare is incomplete interconnectedness of individual practices and processes. In perioperative care some af the disparate factors include:

  • medical: surgeons, anaesthetists, physicians, family doctor
  • nursing: preadmission, ward, recovery
  • hospitals:
  • paramedical: physiotherapy,
  • investigations: pathology, radiology

This is complicated further for private healthcare by the autonomy of the medical, paramedical and investigative groups in particular. The benefits of an integrated IT platform are less obvious than for a hospital, typically public, with a predominantly employed workforce. However, the benefits are the same – reducing cost, and increasing safety.

Gaining benefits that exceed the costs of IT in healthcare, as in other industries, requires a realisation that IT allows new things to be done in new ways inorder to save the healthcare worker’s time – rather than reproducing the old things in new ways that are frequently clumsy.


What are the New Things?

  • Data is ‘king’.

The system is patient-centric, championing the data rather than the hospital/ treating doctor/ paramedical.

Data is entered once, and checked many times, rather than entered many times and checked little (as with paper records). Forms can be prepopulated with existing data, saving time for patient and staff.

  • Decision support.

 A number of software packages provide support for clinical decision making. That is:

  1. Questions are context-driven. If a patient smokes for example, further relevant questions are provided;
  2. Information is context-driven. Patient handouts are relevant to the patient, procedure and surgeon preferences;
  3. Routine orders are context-driven. Prophylactic antibiotics and DVT prophylaxis for example can be guided by factors specific to that patient, procedure and surgeon, and generated by the software.


Real world examples (frequently Australian, with national and international markets) include:

Perioperative management:  

Information interchange:

Decision Support:

Patient information/ education:

  • HealthTap: An interesting fusion of technology and humans is HealthTap
  • Allowing patients to read their medical record (see earlier post from the NY Times)

Process costing:


For further information (or to unsubscribe) please contact:

Perioperative Solutions Pty Ltd, ACN 149 623 950
Reducing risk and cost in perioperative healthcare

Dr Douglas Fahlbusch, MBBS, FANZCA, GAICD, GDM
Owner/ Director
M: 0427 719 046
T: 08 8113 5755
F: 08 8125 6789



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Adelaide SA 5000

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Posted in Blog by Douglas Fahlbusch