As the cancer backlog worsens and levels of stress among clinicians continue to rise, a new, fresh approach is needed to streamline and accelerate cancer diagnosis pathways. NHS England recently published a Faster Diagnosis Framework to help drive this ambition. Developed by the NHS Cancer Programme, this new framework outlines a national strategy to support improved patient experience by speeding up diagnosis and access to cancer care.
The four main aims of the Faster Diagnosis Framework are:
- An earlier and faster diagnosis for patients, whether or not they are diagnosed with cancer
- Excellent patient experience, a holistic assessment of patient needs, and streamlined support across community, primary and secondary care
- Increased capacity in the system, through more efficient diagnostic pathways
- Support to healthcare providers to reach the Faster Diagnosis Standard
With overstretched NHS teams facing mounting pressures and limited resources, putting this framework into action may seem easier said than done. The desire to tackle the cancer backlog is widely shared, but supporting your organisation to reach the goals laid out by the framework can be tricky to navigate. That is why Cinapsis is working to support trusts and clinicians to work in line with the Faster Diagnosis Framework, providing the tools and resources to help teams collaborate on transforming patient care.
Below, we’ve outlined how Cinapsis can help your organisation to put the Faster Diagnosis Framework into action:
1. Earlier and faster diagnosis for patients
Clunky and outdated communication channels between healthcare organisations can prevent effective collaboration and slow down the decision making process for cancer diagnosis. The Cinapsis platform helps to streamline this by providing direct access to specialist advice and guidance. Requests can be made by primary care clinicians using the Cinapsis app and picked up via the same system by local hospital consultants. They can then remotely assess each patient’s case and advise on whether a referral to urgent care is needed.
As a result, faster, more efficient shared referral decisions can be made between primary and secondary care, removing the risk of patients being sent back and forth between different services. Fewer patients end up joining wait lists unnecessarily, meaning clinicians can treat those in need of urgent care sooner, and help those who are deemed not to be at risk of cancer to access the support they need more quickly. This helps streamline and speed up the referral process, increasing the chances of early diagnosis, while reducing unnecessary workload for clinicians.
2. Excellent patient experience, a holistic assessment of patient needs, and streamlined support across community, primary and secondary care
Our technology enables efficient, patient-centred pathways that allow clinicians to get high risk patients to the treatment they need sooner, and reduce the likelihood of unnecessary referrals to urgent care wait lists. This means patients can be sent to the most appropriate service first time round.
For example, at Cheshire and Merseyside, use of Cinapsis has helped reduce the number of unnecessary referrals being made to the two-week wait pathway for suspected skin cancer. As a result, waiting lists are freed up for those who really need urgent consultation or treatment, ensuring they are seen quicker, and giving them the best chance of recovery. Where advice and guidance suggests that a patient does not need to be referred onto the two-week wait pathway, they can be triaged more effectively to the right service for them - whether in outpatient, primary or community care.
Thinking beyond diagnosis, the Cinapsis platform ensures that community based support systems are built into a wider drive for cross-service collaboration throughout the entire care pathway. This enables different services to work together more effectively, unlocking quicker, more efficient patient triage and reducing the burden placed on individual services.
3. Increased capacity in the system, through more efficient diagnostic pathways
Cinapsis is helping to improve capacity by replacing outdated digital or paper-based systems with a more efficient, interoperable platform through which data can be seamlessly and safely shared between services, reducing any delays or barriers in care pathway planning. Each of the relevant clinicians involved in the patient’s treatment can access all necessary data and information, without the need for time-intensive manual admin or data re-entry.
By reducing the need for unnecessary administration, our platform also frees up clinicians’ individual capacity, giving them more time to spend with patients. This is helping to tackle growing patient demand and streamline workflows to both speed up patient referrals and protect clinician wellbeing.
4. Support to healthcare providers to reach Faster Diagnosis Standards
To ensure NHS teams are supported to meet the goals outlined by the NHSE Faster Diagnosis Framework, consistent, comprehensive support is needed to ensure they have the right tools, resources and capacity to deliver the necessary change. At Cinapsis, we work closely with our NHS partners to provide ongoing, high-quality support from day one to help clinicians quickly onboard and begin using our system to streamline referrals and accelerate access to care.
This starts long before implementation, when we talk to clinicians on the ground to understand the nuanced challenges they are facing, and ensure these are addressed in the solution we’re providing. Then, we ensure clinicians are given the right support and training to successfully onboard to the platform and adopt it seamlessly into their daily workflows. Post-implementation, we continue working with our partner clinicians to offer technical support and ensure the solution continues working within their care setting, and delivering optimal outcomes for both patients and clinicians alike.
The Faster Diagnosis Framework provides a good foundation for organisations in the NHS as they work to tackle the cancer backlog and improve patient experience. By realising the potential of consciously developed and delivered technology in helping streamline the referral process, we can help organisations to meet these goals, while protecting clinical capacity and wellbeing. Through the facilitation of more collaborative, joined-up care, we can help to tackle the pressures and demands on those in primary and secondary care, whilst improving the chances of earlier cancer diagnosis and optimising patient outcomes.
Want to find out more about how Cinapsis can support your organisation to streamline referrals and boost service collaboration? Connect with a member of our team.