A free mobile phone application has been launched to provide nurses and other clinicians in hospitals with a simple to use way of identifying high risk surgical patients.
The “app” is a phone version of the Surgical Outcomes Risk Tool (SORT), which was originally developed for online use with computers.
“SORT provides a mortality estimate that can help set the scene to identify high risk patients”
The surgical pre-operative risk prediction tool calculates the likelihood of death within 30 days of surgery, with the exception of obstetrics, neurosurgery, cardiac and transplants.
The project to develop the app was led by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death.
App project lead and lead author Karen Protopapa said: “We developed a simple tool that could be used together with clinical judgement and as part of the overall surgical toolkit.
“SORT provides a mortality estimate that can help set the scene to identify high risk patients, who might benefit from interventions such as admission to critical care,” she said.
“It could also contribute to preoperative assessments, the consent process and shared decision-making with patients and aid resource planning,” she added.
A survey of over 500 participants in May 2015 indicated that the original SORT web tool was mostly starting to be used in UK pre-operative assessment clinics, high risk clinics, and emergency and surgery departments.
According to a study in the British Journal of Surgery in November 2014, it has an advantage over many existing prediction tools by consisting of solely pre-operative variables and allowing rapid and easy data entry. It was also found to have greater accuracy than two other preoperative tools.
Royal College of Anaesthetists president Dr Liam Brennan said: “The app should find a ready uptake from clinicians involved in the care of high risk surgical patients.”
It was developed and internally validated by researchers from NCEPOD and the UCL/UCLH Surgical Outcomes Research Centre, in conjunction with the app developer Cranworth Medical.