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New risk calculator makes surgery safer for NZ patients

New risk calculator makes surgery safer for NZ patients

A new risk calculator for anaesthetists, surgeons and patients based solely on New Zealand data will be rolled out early next year, giving much more targeted knowledge about the risks and benefits of surgery for New Zealanders.

Specialist anaesthetist Dr Doug Campbell has been researching and developing the web-based risk calculator for non-cardiac surgery that is unique to the New Zealand population and will be presenting the initial results for the first time at the 2017 NZ Anaesthesia Annual Scientific Meeting being held in Rotorua (November 8-11, 2017).

Dr Campbell says New Zealand has been dependent on overseas-developed risk calculators that have proven to be inaccurate for the local population. “Our healthcare system is different, and we have a different ethnic make-up, with higher risk for Maori and Polynesian populations.

“Often, other risk calculators are not using the large, high quality data sets that we have in New Zealand. A recent UK risk calculator is one of the largest with 20,000patients whereas our risk calculator, NZSORT, is based on two whole years of surgery in New Zealand involving 360,000 patients. Places that have quite sophisticated healthcare like the US and the UK can’t do what we have done with this data,” says Dr Campbell.

“A New Zealand-based risk calculator means we will be able to make more accurate, better-informed decisions as to the risk and benefits of surgery for New Zealand patients,” he says.

The web-based calculator will be freely available to anyone with a computer or smartphone but should be used with the advice and consultation of a clinician to guide patients through.

The research into the calculator has been funded by Precision Driven Health (PDH), a multi-million-dollar research partnership aimed at improving health outcomes through data science. It has also been supported by the Perioperative Mortality Review Committee (POMRC), a sub-committee of the Health Quality and Safety Commission.

Dr Campbell is a member of the ANZCA Clinical Trials Network and an investigator on the Balance Trial, one of the very large randomised control trials being run through the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA).

The NZ Anaesthesia Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) is hosted jointly by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) and the New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists (NZSA).

One of Australasia's largest specialist medical colleges, ANZCA is responsible for the training, examination and specialist accreditation of anaesthetists and pain medicine specialists, and for the standards of clinical practice, in Australia and New Zealand.

The New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists (NZSA) represents and champions the professional interests of anaesthetists and the optimal care of their patients through advocacy, facilitating and promoting education and research, and supporting anaesthesia networks throughout the country.

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