At Leicester General Hospital, England, patients are assessed by a team of junior doctors for elective colorectal and hepatobiliary procedures. After a number of same day cancellations, a large discrepancy was identified between the findings at the preoperative assessment clinic and the anaesthetic assessment on the day of surgery. After a multidisciplinary meeting was held, three interventions were decided on with an aim to bring the preoperative assessment in line with the anaesthetic assessment. Firstly, a set of guidelines was written and introduced for the junior doctors to use as a reference when assessing patients. Secondly, a proforma was designed specifically to prompt users to include essential details which were being missed in the assessment, having audited 100 patients' notes. Thirdly, a preoperative investigation "calculator" was recommended for each patient to simplify compliance with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance for preoperative assessment.
Before and after each intervention was introduced, a cohort of 50 patients were followed looking for differences in findings in the history, examination, investigations, and fitness for surgery between the preoperative assessment in clinic and the anaesthetic assessment on the day of surgery. Initially 68% of patients were compliant for details in the history, 76% for examination, 32% for choice of preoperative investigations, and 100% for fitness for surgery decision. After all three interventions had been introduced, 96% of patients were compliant for history, 94% for examination findings, 88% had the correct choice of preoperative investigations, and 100% had the same decision on fitness for surgery.
The interventions described proved to be cheap and effective methods of improving the quality of the preoperative assessment, bringing it in line with the anaesthetic assessment and reducing the risk of same day cancellations.
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