Sooner. Safer. Smarter.

That’s the mantra of the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, with a goal for every patient in the province to have an option for surgery within three months by 2014. And to make it happen, Saskatoon Health Region is looking to the best in the world.

Sasha Karakusevic, Dr. Kerry Jones and Dr. Mike Swart presented to surgeons, anesthesiologists, staff and administration on June 9 at RUH.

A group from Saskatchewan visited the United Kingdom in early 2011 to tour facilities and meet with teams that have had great success improving surgical wait times and processes.

“They took us around the UK to really the best high performing centres,” says Dr. Peter Barrett, physician leader for the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative. “We saw a lot of wonderful places doing wonderful work. The one that we agreed was most impressive was South Devon.”

So, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the Health Quality Council, Saskatoon Health Region hosted Dr. Kerry Jones, Dr. Mike Swart and Sasha Karakusevic
from South Devon Trust and Torquay in the United Kingdom to speak to teams about improving surgical experiences for patients.

The presenters each provided advice on how to improve surgical systems, looking at the entire experience from start to finish. Jones spoke about The Productive Operating Theatre™, a comprehensive package of support modules to improve surgical patient experiences and outcomes alongside staff processes, efficiency and wellbeing. Her health system examined and improved touch points in the entire process, from scheduling, to finance, to pharmacy, and to the operating theatre. This esulted in improved start times, improved patient pain scores, increased touch time and annual savings on consumables in each theatre.

The Best of Britain visit was timely for Saskatoon Health Region, which recently placed improved surgical wait times in the top five priorities for this year. The first goal is for every patient in the province to have the option for surgery within 12 months by March 2012. The Region has several projects underway to reach the goal, including the selection of Surgical Centres Inc. to provide cataract surgery, pediatric dental surgery, arthroscopies of the knee, ACL repairs, arthroscopies of the shoulder and shoulder repairs.

“A third party provider will help to improve patient experiences and reduce wait times by providing surgical capacity in addition to that already provided in the Region,” says Deb Gudmundson, Saskatoon Health Region’s executive director of acute care. “This frees up internal operating room space to complete more complex and inpatient cases within the Region.”

Click here to learn more about the Saskatchewan Surgical.