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Home » Digital Health » Software can help reduce the backlog in NHS operating theatre departments

Zah Hussain

Director Marketing and Communications North Europe, Getinge

Scheduling is a critical component in ensuring operating theatre utilisation is fully optimised as well as holding the key to enabling the equipment and staff deployment to be effective. 

Operating theatres are at the heart of the hospital; their effectiveness, efficiency and productivity are vital in reducing waiting lists. Operating theatre departments, however, are not exempt from current staffing problems, and many Trusts are reporting closed theatres daily, purely due to a lack of staff.  

Less waiting and downtime 

It is critical that we turn our attention to how we can achieve more with current resources — increasing efficiencies where possible, ensuring staff are deployed in the most effective manner, equipping theatres appropriately for specific operating lists/cases and reducing the downtime between cases, all without putting additional strain on existing staff.   

Successful reduction of the elective backlog will be driven by a multifaceted, tailored and consistent approach. The NHS has already expedited its digitisation plans as a point of necessity throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. They must now utilise additional digital tools available to them, so they can realise their full potential in terms of efficiency — encouraging their staff to work smarter, not harder. 

With Getinge’s global expertise and significant legacy in operating theatres (OTs), the company has developed several solutions that will support hospitals in their efforts to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for an operation.  

Operating theatres represent the largest
singular cost to a hospital, while also
driving the majority of revenue.

Software solutions for hospitals 

With the elective backlog being such a significant problem across the NHS, a technological solution can provide much-needed help. With NHS staff being stretched further than before, technological solutions need to drive efficiencies, without expecting the existing workforce to work harder.  

Operating theatres represent the largest singular cost to a hospital, while also driving the majority of revenue. Being able to manage the patient journey to ensure that each division of the hospital knows what is coming next can deliver significant benefits to patients, staff and the hospital.  

Getinge has developed INSIGHT and Torin which can be connected with existing systems and deliver a simple and intuitive way of working. These solutions can be implemented separately or deployed in conjunction with each other. Successful implementation has been seen across hospitals worldwide and from all types and sizes of sites. 

These software solutions can deliver efficiencies and operational improvements across hospital disciplines which, in turn, deliver significant savings, improve working environments and, ultimately, help reduce the NHS elective backlog.    

A partnership with hospitals 

Looking at the challenges facing many NHS hospitals up and down the country can seem a daunting prospect. Yet, while there is a mountain ahead, this does provide opportunities for innovation and new technologies to be applied to help solve these challenges. The new technologies and approaches have shown the results from increased throughput to decreases in the average length of stay and reduced non-contact clinical time for staff, all helping to reduce waiting lists and improve patient outcomes.  

None of this would have been achievable without the partnership approach, where both the hospital and Getinge work together, sharing best practices and delivering solutions to agreed common goals. Our number one focus is to improve patient outcomes by equipping hospitals and staff with the right technology provided using the right solution. 

For more information, contact Getinge UK & Ireland on  0191 519 6200 

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