Definition Health announces the UK's first end-to-end digital surgical journey

Definition Health has officially unveiled the latest tool in its digital armoury which raises the bar when it comes to reducing patient risk and improving time and cost inefficiencies across the NHS and private health sector.

Called Secure Virtual Clinic (SVC), the software provides secure patient-practitioner consultation via video or audio call, whilst allowing secure two-way file uploading, information sharing and complete follow-up to ensure medical continuity.

The combination of SVC with the company's LifeBox pre-operative health assessment (ePOA) app, launched in 2018, provides the UK's first end-to-end digital surgical journey.

"Secure Virtual Clinic is more than just video consultation as it replicates a face-to-face consultation," says Definition Health co-founder Dr Rosie Scott, a practising NHS consultant radiologist. 

"Medical files, scans, patient photos, and videos can be uploaded and exchanged between patient and hospital staff, for consultations and the entire pre- and post-op care. It allows for a pluralistic approach to enable individualised patient care -- and it is completely secure."

Definition Health is based at the Sussex Innovation Centre's Falmer site in East Sussex. Dr Scott says: "The team there has been very supportive to us as an SME and has become an informal sounding board during one of the busiest times in our development and especially at the beginning of the COVID crisis."

Since March, the company's ePOA has witnessed rapid adoption among private and NHS hospitals during the COVID crisis as medical teams embrace digital health technologyin a bid to keep patients safe. As elective surgery was put on hold at the beginning of lockdown, LifeBox ePOA was used to assess the requirement for a hospital visit prior to urgent surgery.

For example, The Montefiore Hospital in Hove, West Sussex had a high number of cancer patients needing elective surgery and/or treatment. It had already digitised its entire patient pre-operative assessment service through LifeBox so used the app to asses the requirement for these cancer patients to come into hospital alleviating the need for 70% of visits during the early stages of lockdown.

Definition Health announces the UK's first end-to-end digital surgical journey

The Definition Health team (L-R): Sandeep Chauhan (co-founder and orthopaedic surgeon), Ben Scott-Stacey (implementation manager), Allan Smith (commercial manager), Angela Bourn (account manager), Rosie Scott (co-founder and radiologist)

Mary Richardson, managing director of the South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre (SWLEOC), says the level of transformation brought about using LifeBox ePOA among its medical teams has ensured the Centre has been able to recover much more quickly from the COVID crisis, because patients continued to be pre-assessed via LifeBox during the lockdown phase. When surgery recommenced, SWLEOC had many patients all ready for theatre.

SWLEOC, recognised as one of the largest joint replacement centres in Europe, was the first NHS hospital to start using LifeBox last summer and is now gradually rolling out this product to all four trusts within its partnership.

"All pre-assessments are now completed virtually. In the past, patients had to come back into hospital to fill in their pre-operative assessments," explains Mary Richardson.

"This comprehensive pre-assessment tool enables us to see all patient details including MRSA, blood and COVID test results and it also flags up uf there is a need for an anaesthetic review."

Six months into the COVID crisis, and the LifeBox ePOA app is now supporting hospitals as they return to elective surgery. By triaging thousands of patients using the software, waiting lists are being tackled remotely, ensuring patients are 'surgery-ready' for when the hospitals are. 

"LifeBox ePOA and SVC have both been designed by clinicians with the main aim of keeping patients safe and reducing risk," adds Dr Scott. "With the coronavirus, we have witnessed the adoption of our preasssessment app move forward by two years within a matter of weeks and now hospital teams understand we cannot simply go back to the business as usual of lengthy face-to-face appointments and bringing patients into hospital to fill in forms."