Rapid diagnosis centers cut waiting time and costs in cancer diagnosis

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | January 17, 2020
European News Rad Oncology Primary Care

A cancer or non-cancer diagnosis or discharge from the clinic was made on average in under six days at the RDC, compared to 84 days under standard care. Further investigations arranged at the RDC produced a diagnosis in just over 40 days. The RDC was also less costly and more efficient than standard care as long as it ran at 80 percent capacity. SBUHB, for instance, saved £157,858 (more than $205,000) and gained 9.2 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for every 1,000 patients attending the RDC when it ran at full capacity of five patients per session.

The authors say the next step is to determine how the pilot can be integrated into regular practice. This includes aligning it with the Single Cancer Pathway, a proposal to merge the urgent and non-urgent pathways of referral for cancer patients in Wales to standardize waiting time to 62 days when suspicion of cancer is initially made by a clinician. It also is meant to ensure earlier cancer diagnoses are made, and to further patient satisfaction.

"We are currently evaluating data from the first 2 years of the RDC to confirm cost-effectiveness using a bigger sample size," said Sewell. "In the future, a study looking at the long-term consequences of the RDC (e.g., on cancer outcomes, survival and healthcare cost) would be beneficial."

She adds that it will require the Welsh Government and NHS Wales to improve testing and diagnosis for cancers in the region, which includes adding the right number of specialists to run cancer tests.

The findings were published in the British Journal of General Practice.

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