Waiting for test results can be an incredibly stressful experience for patients and their families. With that in mind, Kingston thought carefully about how it could improve its existing cancer diagnostic offering for patients.
Jim Weir is General Manager, Clinical Support Services at Kingston NHS Foundation Hospital Trust hospital: “We currently cover an enormous catchment area, serving 350,000 people across South West London.
“Our radiology department undertakes 300,000 examinations a year, our emergency department handles 110,000 patients a year. We are busy 24/7, all 365 days of the year.”
Previously, a patient with a consistent cough might see their GP who would refer them to the hospital for a routine x-ray. If something showed up on that x-ray, the patient might be called back to the hospital for a CT scan. Waiting to come back for that test can be nerve-wracking. What if it’s something serious? Then there’s yet another agonising wait for those test results.
Jim says: “We brainstormed how we could compress that entire process, make it more efficient and less stressful for the patient. We consulted with teleradiology provider 4ways to find a solution that would deliver a result for the patient as quickly as possible.”
“As a result of our revamped service delivered in conjunction with 4ways’, we now have one of the best performance targets in the country!”General Manager, Clinical Support Services – Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
After a meeting between the clinical leads at 4ways and Kingston, the client agreed that 4ways’ teleradiologists would need to look at prior imaging to ensure the new service’s accuracy and effectiveness. The solution in essence, was a bespoke version of 4ways’ Day Time Urgent service.
Jim says: “What we ended up agreeing on was a turnaround that was less than 24 hours to give them time to better examine prior scans. So, ideally within a day of first going into their GP surgery, we can get our cancer patients scanned the same day and a report back with the clinician, all in under 24 hours.
If this is not possible, then the scan occurs within 3 days of referral. That’s a vast improvement on a process that previously would have taken one to two weeks.
Importantly, the new timeframe has also allowed Kingston to meet the Department of Health’s new turnaround times, which require hospitals to deliver a cancer diagnosis within 28 days of the initial referral, up from the previous 35 days.
“As a result of our revamped service delivered in conjunction with 4ways’, we now have one of the best performance targets in the country!”
“We’ve been working with 4ways for a number of years now. We soon saw the value in the service they were providing and what started out as just the routine reporting, soon grew into Out of Hours and now the Day Time Urgent work. 4ways have always taken a very collaborative approach and have helped us come up with new solutions to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients. It’s a great partnership and we’ve come to depend on the services they provide. Put simply, they’re now seen as a valuable extension of our own department.”General Manager, Clinical Support Services – Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust