By Douglas Shepherd
Surgeons who need an anaesthetist with the correct skill sets, admitting rights and availability are being linked up via a doctor-designed app.
The Alloc8tor software, used to allocate 150 anaesthetists to thousands of surgical lists in 15 south-of-England hospitals over the last four years, is now being rolled out across central London’s private healthcare sector.
Its designers say location and subspecialty filters ensure anaesthetists are only invited to lists relevant to them – ‘so gone are the days of being inundated with offers of work you would never do’.
Operating lists needing an anaesthetist are created by an administrator, normally an anaesthetic or surgical secretary, who can also include the Clinical Coding and Schedule Development Group (CCSD) codes and insurers.
Anaesthetists can then see the insured fees for cases on the list. Three-hundred surgeons are represented on the platform.
Administrators can select which anaesthetists to invite, based on the skill sets groups the anaesthetists have put themselves into or they can select private groups of their preferred anaesthetists that they control entry into.
Keeping everyone informed
Automated emails/SMS and in-app alerts are then sent to all interested parties, such as anaesthetists, surgeons and theatre managers, at all stages of the allocation process, thus keeping everyone informed.
Anaesthetists answer with a Yes/No/Maybe via the app and lists are either auto-allocated to the first positive responder or can be allocated by the administrator.
On allocation to an anaesthetist, the list disappears from everyone else’s app and drops into the ‘allocated’ section for the relevant anaesthetist.
Alloc8tor is free to join for anaesthetists and the basic functionality will remain free with optional premium features to be introduced in 2022.
One place to visit
The company aims to centralise the multitude of WhatsApp groups currently used so that, at any time, the anaesthetist has one place to visit to see work availability across the private hospitals in London that they work in.
Secretaries have easy access to a multitude of anaesthetists, who all have appropriate skills and admitting rights, and can see the up-to-date responses.
Dr Harry Akerman
Alloc8tor Ltd director, consultant anaesthetist Dr Harry Akerman, who co-founded the company with his friend Mike Crompton, said: ‘We are very excited by the opportunity of extending Alloc8tor’s functionality and we believe that there is a lot that we can bring to the anaesthetic market in London.
‘Outside of London, the market dynamics are very variable. We welcome discussion with groups of anaesthetists and would consider these opportunities on a case-by-case basis.’
He told Independent Practitioner Today: ‘In London, Alloc8tor is free for anaesthetists and the core basic package always will be. We plan to introduce premium features in 2022 for the anaesthetists for which we would charge a subscription.
‘After the initial launch period, we will be charging for the administrative users – those advertising the work: hospitals, surgical secretaries – £15 per month plus VAT. In the future, we will be offering additional services and features that will be optional add-ons to the basic platform for all users.’
He said the company looked forward to growing and digitising many more time-consuming old- fashioned processes that took a lot of effort.
One orthopaedic secretary in London said the app had transformed the process of booking anaesthetists for her practice.
A user-friendly interface, clear colour coding, quick response times and live updates had saved much time and effort and she no longer needed to send out repetitive emails or messages to try and source anaesthetic cover for ad-hoc cases.
Alloc8tor’s early days were focused on delivering a well-supported service to anaesthetic groups, but the break of the Covid pandemic gave time and the opportunity to further develop the platform so it is now a dedicated iOS and Android application – seen as critical to its success in the London market.