Supporting Early Cancer Diagnosis by Integrating Diagnostic Services
In the current climate, efficiency is absolutely crucial. With so much pressure on NHS laboratories to prioritise COVID-19 testing, bottlenecks in the pathology and reporting process are having a negative impact on the diagnosis of critical illnesses, including cancer. Recent studies suggest a 25% backlog in referrals due to COVID-19 could result in 181 additional lives lost, with curable diseases becoming terminal after waiting for treatment.
In their recent report, Cancer Research UK called for more investment into diagnostic cancer equipment and technologies to significantly improve outcomes and ensure early cancer diagnosis. But, with so much resource and funding spent tackling the pandemic, patients are still not being tested soon enough due to fear of catching the virus in hospitals, or services being cancelled altogether to prioritise COVID cases.
The case for integrating diagnostic services
It is clear that organisational change is required to improve patient outcomes, not only during the pandemic but also to ensure earlier cancer diagnosis. To do this, hospitals and laboratories need to make adjustments to working practices in order to increase diagnostic capacity and speed up the process between tests and results. This can be achieved through the optimisation of resources across lab medicine, pathology, and radiology AI.
Advantages can be obtained by reducing the bottleneck that can occur where multiple diagnostic tests are undertaken, and where results are published at different times and to different systems. Providing a single integrated view of diagnostic tests, images, reports, and results could really help to streamline that process, which is critical for early cancer diagnosis and enabling the rapid commencement of treatment.
Furthermore, better access to data offers an opportunity to deploy business intelligence and clinical workflow optimisation tools to provide better visibility of cases, and management of resources. Artificial intelligence algorithms can also be introduced, to support workload prioritisation, to enable even greater efficiencies in the diagnostic process.
How Wellbeing Software can help
As the leading RIS provider in the UK, with long-standing, deeply integrated installations across all diagnostic regions and hubs, we already have a platform and foundations in place to support organisations as they seek to unlock improvements in diagnostic services. This starts with the integration and interconnectivity of individual organisations, to provide access to a wider resource pool and to specialist services. Following Wellbeing Software’s acquisition by Citadel Health, we are excited to be able to offer Australia’s market leading LIMS to the UK, which is the next step in our strategy to support fully integrated healthcare diagnostic services in the UK.
Improving patient outcomes
Patients who are diagnosed earlier have the best chance of curative treatment and remission, and yet only 55% of cancers are detected early in England, which has worsened as a result of COVID-19. It is for this reason that understanding and enabling efficiencies in the diagnostic process is at the top of our agenda.