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National Optimal Lung Pathway

This ambitious national project aimed to redesign the lung cancer pathway with a view to treating patients within 49 days.

This ambitious national project aimed to redesign the lung cancer pathway with a view to treating patients within 49 days.

The revised pathway:

  • Empowered GPs to order diagnostic Chest X-rays before referring to secondary care
  • Encouraged radiologists to refer straight to CT if they found a patients X-ray suspicious
  • Assigned tighter timelines to key milestones
  • Tracked time taken to report diagnostic investigations

The Centre for Cancer Outcomes helped by designing a data collection tool for Trusts to record and analyse their lung cancer data. We collated and analysed data across the sector, presenting our findings locally and to the national team.

We started by reviewing the skillset of newly appointed Lung Pathway Navigators across the network and the data collection tools we felt could be used to meet the project brief. We studied the project objectives and designed a dataset that could be interrogated to answer all questions posed. Faced with an immediate desire to start collecting data, we chose to build the tool in MS Excel as it was immediately available at participating Trusts and could be rolled out with little training. We used the inbuilt functions of Excel to calculate as many derived data fields as possible, making data entry faster and more accurate. We added validation rules to aid data quality and completeness. We provided a pathway visualisation tool to enable Trusts to analyse their own data. The tool was designed to highlight long waits between key diagnostic milestones but could also be used to track outcomes.

Pathway visualisation tool

The CCO provided regular analysis throughout the project and presented findings to the Lung Pathway Board and to the National Working Group. The presentations were tailored to the audience in a visually accessible combination of tables, charts and graphs.

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