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Examining the diagnostic pathway for lung cancer patients in Wales using discrete event simulation

England, Tracey, Harper, Paul, Crosby, Tom, Gartner, Daniel, Arruda, Edilson F., Foley, Kieran and Williamson, Ian J. 2021. Examining the diagnostic pathway for lung cancer patients in Wales using discrete event simulation. Translational Lung Cancer Research 10 (3) , pp. 1368-1382. 10.21037/tlcr-20-919

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Abstract

Background: UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has one of the poorest lung cancer survival rates in Europe. To improve patient outcomes, a single cancer pathway was introduced in the NHS. In this study, a Discrete Event Simulation was developed to understand bottlenecks during lung cancer treatment. Methods: This study focused on the lung cancer diagnostic pathways at two Welsh hospitals. Discrete Event Simulation is a computer-based method that has been effectively used in demand and capacity planning. In this study, simulation models were developed for the current and proposed single cancer pathways. The validated models were used to provide Key Performance Indicators. Several “what-if” scenarios were considered for the current and proposed pathways. Results: Under the current diagnostic pathway, the mean time to treatment for a surgery patient was 68 days at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and 79 days at Prince Charles Hospital. For chemotherapy patients, the mean time to treatment was 52 days at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and 57 days at Prince Charles Hospital. For radiotherapy patients, the mean time to treatment was 44 days at Royal Glamorgan Hospital and 54 days at Prince Charles Hospital. Ensuring that the patient attends their first outpatient appointment within 7 days and streamlining the diagnostic tests would have the potential to remove approximately 20 days from the current lung cancer pathway resulting in a 20–25% increase of patients receiving treatment within 62 days. Ensuring that patients begin their treatment within 21 days of diagnosis sees almost all patients comply with the 62-day target. Conclusions: Discrete Event Simulation coupled with a detailed statistical analysis provides a useful decision support tool which can be used to examine the current and proposed lung cancer pathways in terms of time spent on the pathway.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Mathematics
Data Innovation Research Institute (DIURI)
Publisher: AME Publishing
ISSN: 2218-6751
Funders: CRUK
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 April 2021
Date of Acceptance: 23 December 2020
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2021 15:15
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/139756

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