The Complete Guide to Preoperative Assessment in 2024

What is the difference between preoperative assessment, a pre anaesthetic assessment form, a pre-op check and a pre op health questionnaire?

They are all the same words to describe the information you provide your Anaesthetist before surgery.

preoperative assessment - a complete guide to pre anaesthetic assessment forms

Here at Anaesthetic Group we specialise in online preoperative assessment. As a patient you will be asked to fill out a secure pre-op form, at a time that is convenient for you. Once you hit submit, the form is instantly sent to your Anaesthetist for review, making the preoperative process extremely efficient.

We’ve been helping Anaesthetists improve efficiency and optimise patient outcomes with secure online preoperative assessment for over 11 years – and we’ve seen the difference it makes to patient outcomes.

If you are a patient that has been asked to complete your Anaesthetist’s preoperative assessment questionnaire, please scan the QR code, visit the link they provided or click here to visit our home page and search for your Anaesthetist to find their form.

What is preoperative assessment?

Preoperative assessment is an opportunity for your Anaesthetist to get to know you – to assess and prepare a patient, prior to surgery. It allows your Anaesthetist to plan for your surgery. (Example form here)

A thorough preoperative assessment (POA) is an important step in preparing for surgery. It’s important for your Anaesthetist to know what medications or medical conditions you have, so they can plan out their care and make sure that your procedure is carried out as safely as possible.

Preparing a patient for anaesthesia requires identifying any health issues or co-morbidities (multiple health conditions) that may complicate your surgery or increase your risk of complications during anaesthesia. It’s also an opportunity to identify any health issues that may affect your ability to recover from surgery, and to organise additional post-operative care so your post-surgery recovery is as easy and efficient as possible.

On top of that, it’s a wonderful time for the Anaesthetist to introduce themselves and build rapport. It’s a chance for the patient to ask any questions and raise any concerns or worries.

Online Preoperative Assessment makes for a better anaesthetic experience.
Imagine having a relaxed authentic chat with your Anaesthetist before you go under, rather than trying to remember your health history in a time you’re already nervous.

What is the ultimate goal of preoperative assessment?

The ultimate goal of preoperative assessment is to ensure that you’re prepared for surgery, reduce your Anaesthetic risk, and return you to good function as quickly as possible after your procedure.

What are the elements of preoperative assessment?

Whilst each Anaesthetist may ask different questions, here are some elements that are common in preoperative assessments:

  • previous anaesthetic history (and problems)
  • current health status (allergies, height, weight)
  • medications
  • medical conditions
  • private health fund / medicare cover
  • other issues of note

Plus a space for your questions, as well as the option of a phone call, or anything else you’d like your Anaesthetist to know or discuss with you before surgery.

Why is preoperative assessment important?

Every patient is different. There is no “one-size fits all” anaesthetic as such each patient will have their own unique anaesthetic assessment and plan.

Provide your Anaesthetist with as much information as possible by completing their preoperative assessment form.
Find your Anaesthetist and their form here.

How long before your procedure should you fill in the online pre-op assessment form?

You should fill the form out as early as possible.

It’s also important that you notify your Anaesthetist of any changes in your health between filling out the form and your operation. Including but not limited to things like any medications you’ve started taking, a diagnosis of Covid, or a respiratory infection.

Do all patients need to fill in a form?

Yes. All patients should fill in a preoperative assessment form — even if the procedure itself is simple.

It’s in your best interest to give your anaesthetist as much information as possible by completing their pre-op health questionnaire.

What do you need to have on hand before filling out the preoperative form?

A Some Anaesthetists ask different things, but as a general rule you will need:

  1. details of your current medications
  2. dates and locations of your recent or major procedures
  3. your weight (kg) & height (cm)
  4. contact details for your usual doctors (GP & Specialists)
  5. your Private Health Fund details
  6. a scanned PDF or JPG of any results, medications or letters you wish to send your Anaesthetist
  7. any questions or other information you wish to provide your Anaesthetist

What happens after I fill out the pre op health questionnaire?

  • The form is immediately sent to your Anaesthetist and you will see a confirmation with a reference number
  • Your Anaesthetist will usually contact you if more information is required or if you have requested to be contacted before the operation takes place.
  • The Anaesthetist’s billing team may provide IFC or contact you for prepayment
  • The Anaesthetist may send pre and post operative information including their fasting advice, what to expect, risks and what pain relief to have on hand. We also have a list of general Patient Anaesthetic Information Sheets available here.
  • The night before surgery, the hospital will likely contact you with fasting instructions and information on what time you will need to be at the hospital

What is perioperative assessment?

Perioperative means ‘around the time of surgery’. It usually includes the preoperative, operative, and postoperative phases of your procedure. Perioperative assessment is also referred to as preoperative assessment.

How has preoperative assessment changed over the years?

Traditionally (the old way), preoperative assessment was conducted by meeting with your anaesthetist moments before surgery and having them ask you questions. Among the negatives are the possibility that you may forget something, you’re anxious, and answering so many important questions may just make you more nervous, or if there were risks that could have been avoided, the Anaesthetist might not be able to contact your other doctors or run tests, and therefore (you both) could be under pressure to proceed. Once you come out of surgery, you might forget everything the Anaesthetist told you earlier about how to deal with pain and what to expect afterwards. In addition, you may get a surprise bill and have no way of contacting your Anaesthetist if there is a post operative problem.

Another, older style approach to preoperative assessment was to see your anaesthetist or nurse in a preoperative clinic days or weeks before your procedure. Most commonly, this only occurred in patients with complicated medical histories or complicated operations. While the patient and anaesthetist will have an opportunity to ask questions, it would not only add to the cost of the procedure, but also make things much more time-consuming. Plus it would also be very inconvenient, and risky, in this busy post-Covid world.

More modern methods include having the Anaesthetist call you or sending you a pdf form to complete your pre op assessment. Even though this is helpful, it isn’t ideal since both of you are probably busy, and you may not feel comfortable discussing your health history over the phone when they call during the day. After hours, you may both have busy families, or just have no time to talk. Over the phone you are likely to also miss thinking about and explaining some aspects of your health. Alternatively paper forms can be difficult to print, fill out legibly and even allow the Anaesthetist to ask more in-depth questions based on your answers. Plus, filling it in on a desktop, or printing it, and then uploading it back is just inconvenient.

So, what is the most efficient, modern 2024 way of conducting preoperative assessment? Progressive Anaesthetists ask you to fill in their online preoperative questionnaire.

You complete it online at a time convenient for you. It’s safe and secure. You fill it in from your phone, tablet, or computer. You can even save it and return to it later. Your Anaesthetist will then receive the form instantly so they can review it, create a plan, and, if necessary, get in touch with your other specialists. It is simple and quick. Anaesthetists can even customise their pre-anaesthetic assessment form according to their most common surgeons or procedures.

As a result there is usually enough time to learn about potential risks, post-operative expectations and care, as well as fees, before the operation. Then on the day of the surgery, everything is more efficient and the Anaesthetist can focus on making you feel comfortable, safe and secure. A better service is delivered. As a result, you feel valued, listened to, and most importantly confident that you are in good hands.

What do patients think of the Anaesthetic Group online preoperative assessment form?

Over 97% have said they liked our form and found it easy. But most importantly, they appreciated their Anaesthetist giving them the opportunity to complete it.

How do we know this? Whenever a patient submits a Pre-op Questionnaire on our site, we ask for feedback. We love receiving feedback, whether positive or otherwise. Having a good experience on our site means a lot to us and we know it does to their Anaesthetist. Read feedback from the last few years here: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

If you are a patient with feedback, please let us know at the end of the form, or contact us here or here. We’d love to hear from you on ways we can make the preoperative form better.

Or if you are an Anaesthetist looking for insight (positive and negative) comments from patients about ways you can make a difference to their care, read our summary of Patient Experience Survey responses here.

Where can I find my Anaesthetist’s preop form?

Visit our home page here to search for your Anaesthetist then from their page click on the link to their Pre-Op Health Questionnaire.

I’m an Anaesthetist and I’d like to try online preoperative assessment

Whether you are after a preoperative assessment form, an online pre anaesthetic assessment, a pre-op check or a pre op health questionnaire, Anaesthetic Group is here to help.