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 presented the initial results
for the first time at the 2017 NZ Anaesthesia
Annual Scientific Meeting in Rotorua (November 8-11).
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 Māori
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 20,000 patients
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.”
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, a multimillion-dollar
research partnership aimed at
improving health outcomes through data
science. It has also been supported by the
Perioperative Mortality Review Committee, 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).