INTRODUCTION

Undergoing a medical or surgical procedure is often a stressful experience. Although procedures are beneficial even minor ones may cause anxiety. Many patients worry particularly about the effects of anesthesia. All patients want the best possible outcome from their procedure and a speedy return to normal life.

Medical and surgical procedures expose you to hospitals and medical professionals who don't know you and your medical problems like your regular doctor does. Reliable information communicated between doctors and patients, and between doctors and other members of the care team, is essential in this setting. Unfortunately, the complexity of the health care system makes coordination difficult. The pressure to do things more efficiently also creates the potential for mistakes. One example is when anesthesiologists don't meet their patients until just a few minutes before "going under".

SurgiPrep was created by an anesthesiologist facing exactly this problem. We realized there are opportunities not only to make care safer but also more compassionate, by attending to the needs of patients. Happily, our approach makes life easier for anesthesiologists too.

What are the "needs of patients"?!

Patients need safe, effective, convenient, reasonably priced medical care. But there's more to it than that. Based on research we know that improving the experience of a patient involves:
  1. Providing respect for the patient's values, preferences, and expressed needs;
  2. Coordinating and integrating care;
  3. Offering information and education;
  4. Ensuring continuity of care.
  5. Facilitating the involvement of family members and friends; and
  6. Ensuring physical comfort and support for emotional concerns;
The problem is that health care systems are designed around medical institutions and medical personnel, and they don't always take into account the genuine needs and concerns of patients we've identified above.

So, what is SurgiPrep?

SurgiPrep is a set of information and communication tools for you, your doctors, and the hospital to use, before, during and after a surgical or medical procedure. The procedure is usually one that requires the participation of an anesthesiologist.

SurgiPrep does not replace any of the expected interactions with your doctors or nurses, but helps you, your doctors, and your hospital work together better.

What are SurgiPrep's goals?

SurgiPrep supports the goals of safe and effective procedural care, as well as the optimal experience of patients with that care. Some people call this patient-centered care.

By offering improved information and communication we try to help create a sense of trust, confidence and optimism. This also allows you a more active part in your care which is often associated with better results.

Of course, some patients prefer to be told only the basics, letting their doctors make decisions without much input or questioning. We respect that as a valid preference too.

What does SurgiPrep offer?

For starters, SurgiPrep offers an online pre-procedure Interview that gathers a comprehensive medical history. In other words we take as much time as necessary to ask you all the questions relevant to your health for your planned procedure. SurgiPrep never gets tired, bored or frustrated.

Doctors and nurses are invariably busy and pressed for time so SurgiPrep can help avoid medical errors resulting from omissions of relevant information. The system assists in making your care as safe as possible.

A good pre-procedure medical history ensures that relevant medical issues are identified for exploration by you and your doctors. The subsequent face-to-face interview will go smoother and be much more productive for both of you. When you and your anesthesiologist meet, he or she will already know quite a bit about you! The information gathered is also useful to the surgeon (or other doctor) doing your procedure.

Along with your medical history we gather information about your preferences and values, taking care to the next level, so it is centered on you.

What does SurgiPrep do with my information?

We take your information and process it for your doctor so that the most important issues are highlighted and any special areas of risk are noted for attention. The computer processing applies "best practices" that are reviewed by a panel of experts. A report is made available for your doctors to review.

We also process your information for you, so you get a report that summarizes everything you've told SurgiPrep, along with suggestions for improving your health (stop smoking!), your doctor's rules about eating and drinking before the surgery, what to do with your regular medications, and when and where to show up for your procedure.

What about my procedure?

Glad you asked! We present you with information about your medical and surgical procedure that has been vetted, and in some cases prepared, by your doctor. There is also information available to explain your anesthesia.

It's important that you are offered information about the benefits, risks and alternatives of your procedure and of the anesthesia - this is good medical care and in fact it's also required by law. We try to explain everything in a way that doesn't require an advanced medical degree and you can rest assured that if there's anything you don't understand you'll have a chance to go over it with your doctors.

Can I still talk to my doctor?

Of course! SurgiPrep makes it easier to access your doctors. We put your doctor's contact information in one place. Depending on your doctor's preferences, SurgiPrep can offer additional means of communication with your doctor or her staff, such as email, cellphone (SMS), or instant messaging. This ensures you are prepared for your surgery, and carefully monitored afterward.

How does SurgiPrep help my anesthesiologist?

There are many benefits to modern, "fast-track" anesthesia and surgery, such as avoiding long hospital stays. One drawback is that you seldom get a chance to talk in the necessary depth with your anesthesiologist.

Anesthesiologists are specialist physicians who play an important role in your care before, during and after your procedure. Many times patients have no idea who their anesthesiologist is, (or was)! We think you would want to know.

SurgiPrep helps alleviate the concerns of both anesthesiologist and patient. Your anesthesiologist gets a report on you ahead of your procedure and can be alerted to any potential problems, such as previous bad experiences with anesthesia, heart or lung disease, or severe anxiety. In certain cases your anesthesiologist may require additional testing, or even an office visit well before the procedure and will work with you and your surgeon to arrange this in a timely and convenient fashion.

SurgiPrep also provides a way for you to let your doctor and the hospital know about the experience you had in the hospital, and of any problems you may experience in the recovery period. SurgiPrep does not offer emergency medical care but will tell you who to contact in the case of an emergency.

Finally, your anesthesiologist may choose to provide via SurgiPrep information about payment for your procedure, and ask you to agree to be responsible for payment.

How does it work and what do I have to do?

You must be registered as a user on the SurgiPrep site. Your doctor may register you or you may register on your own.

You will be issued a username and password so you can login to the system. A little bit of typing may be required but most answers require only the selection of a fixed answer. If you need help from a family member or medical professional, such as a nurse, that is okay, and the system will record this.

When you've completed the interview - which takes about 20 minutes over a reasonable broadband internet connection - you may print it out and give it to your doctors. If your doctor is signed up with SurgiPrep a report will become available online when he or she logs on.

Is my information safe?

SurgiPrep safeguards your information with international health industry standard technologies and policies, including those applicable in the United States (HIPAA) and Europe. We do not release your personally identifiable health information to anyone other than those authorized medical professionals involved in caring for you in the doctor's office, hospital or surgery center. For more information please see our privacy and confidentiality policies here.

What does it cost?

SurgiPrep's basic service is free to patients!