Metcalfe, C, Dogan, M, Glazzard, N, Ross, E and George, AP ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5132-0915 (2021) Introduction of a novel telescopic pathway to streamline 2‐week‐wait suspected head and neck cancer referrals and improve efficiency: A prospective service evaluation. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology.

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Abstract

Objectives
This study summarizes the introduction of a novel telescopic pathway, which streamlines 2-week-wait suspected head and neck cancer referrals to our unit, describes the logistics of the pathway, and analyzes referral numbers and outcomes. We also discuss wider issues surrounding remote assessment in head and neck cancer.

Methods
Data were collected prospectively between January and May 2021, capturing all 2-week-wait referrals to our unit following the introduction of a telescopic pathway which utilized a nurse-led clinic for nasendoscopic examination of selected patients and consultant-led remote assessment using store and forward technology. Information on referral numbers, waiting times and outcomes was recorded.

Results
Three hundred and forty (185 high risk, 155 low risk) patients entered the telescopic pathway with the remaining 74 patients seen on the conventional standard of care pathway. Cancer conversion rates were 17%, <1%, and 5.4% for the high-risk telescopic, low-risk telescopic and standard of care pathways respectively. No patients discharged from the telescopic pathway were re-referred within 3 months. Review capacity for endoscopic examination was higher per consultant on the telescopic pathway versus the standard of care (p = .01).

Conclusion
A combination of risk stratification and asynchronous telescopic assessment shows promise for the management of suspected head and neck cancer referrals. Potential benefits include consultant-led care for all patients and enhanced documentation. Digital communication with patients may also assist with adherence to the new NHS 28-day diagnostic standard for cancer referrals. Ongoing data collection is required to assess how the pathway functions over a longer period.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Objectives This study summarizes the introduction of a novel telescopic pathway, which streamlines 2-week-wait suspected head and neck cancer referrals to our unit, describes the logistics of the pathway, and analyzes referral numbers and outcomes. We also discuss wider issues surrounding remote assessment in head and neck cancer. Methods Data were collected prospectively between January and May 2021, capturing all 2-week-wait referrals to our unit following the introduction of a telescopic pathway which utilized a nurse-led clinic for nasendoscopic examination of selected patients and consultant-led remote assessment using store and forward technology. Information on referral numbers, waiting times and outcomes was recorded. Results Three hundred and forty (185 high risk, 155 low risk) patients entered the telescopic pathway with the remaining 74 patients seen on the conventional standard of care pathway. Cancer conversion rates were 17%, <1%, and 5.4% for the high-risk telescopic, low-risk telescopic and standard of care pathways respectively. No patients discharged from the telescopic pathway were re-referred within 3 months. Review capacity for endoscopic examination was higher per consultant on the telescopic pathway versus the standard of care (p = .01). Conclusion A combination of risk stratification and asynchronous telescopic assessment shows promise for the management of suspected head and neck cancer referrals. Potential benefits include consultant-led care for all patients and enhanced documentation. Digital communication with patients may also assist with adherence to the new NHS 28-day diagnostic standard for cancer referrals. Ongoing data collection is required to assess how the pathway functions over a longer period.
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R735 Medical education. Medical schools. Research
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology > Physical medicine. Physical therapy. Including massage, exercise, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, phototherapy, radiotherapy, thermotherapy, electrotherapy
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2022 15:21
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 15:21
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/10450

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