Cancer pathway optimisation though digitisation and automation
Meet the team
- Grant Vallance: Information Manager, Department of Clinical Haematology, Oxford University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust
- Marcus Baw: GP, ED doctor and clinician-who-codes
- NHSx (NHSE) Innovation Lab
What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?
There are between 34 and 87 steps to take a lung cancer patient from referral to treatment. Many of these steps are manual and could be undertaken by automation. We are currently building a proof-of-concept digital pathway to test how this can be undertaken. We want to put all of the salient information that a clinician needs to make an informed decision into a single interface. This will speed up processes and reduce the frustrations associated with having to log into different clincial systems. There is strong data that faster treatment times lead to better prognosis. We currently have two computer science on placement building this proof-of-concept. These have been funded by the SWAG cancer alliance and the local CCG. We will need funding for 2-3 placement students to continue this important work and hence the application to Q Exchange. We will also improve patient understanding via created and curated patient information videos.
What does your project aim to achieve?
This body of work is set to achieve:
- Faster pathways leading to improved patient prognosis. This will be achieved by streamlining the pathway through digitisation and automation of the various steps in the pathway. Faster treatment times have been shown to improve prognosis.
- Reduced staff workload due to the above changes.
- Better patient experience via tailored made patient information videos (PIVs). We will create and curate PIVs, which will be automatically sent out to the patient (via SMS or email) when a test request or referral is sent, to keep the patient fully informed. This will help free up staff time to discuss, by phone or face-to-face, explain matters to those that are less digitally literate.
- Improved staff experience of managing the lung cancer pathway by using a user-centred design approach. We will be using agile methodologies and user-centred design for the digital pathway
How will the project be delivered?
I am working on the lung cancer digital pathway as part of my studies for the NHS Digital Academy Digital leadership PGDip course. I have been engaging with the trust’s digital team and together we are building a new Gloucestershire Clinical Informatics Hub which will house the pathway work. We had a recent stakeholders meeting and we had a lot of positivity about the digital pathway. We are keen to take this work further forward. We want to make this digital pathway modular and open source so that other cancer sites and trusts can benefit and also collaborate on this work. We have been working with the NHSx (NHSE) Innovation Lab to ensure that our work aligns with national digital strategies. We have pre-implementation data available to then compare later. We believe that building this pathway within a trust, rather than contracting out, can save the NHS money.
How is your project going to share learning?
We have already been building the digital pathway in an open format. The code is shared as open source on Github (https://github.com/spiritumduo/spiritumDuo), we are presenting this work at several meetings (the next one is the “Let’s Talk Digital” conference on the 18th of February 2022) and we plan to blog and generally share insights from this build on the Gloucestershire Clinical Informatics Hub web site, when this have been created. We really value the collaborative input we have already had from Glocuestershire University, NHSx (NHSE) Innovation Lab and Oxford Univeristy Hospital. We are also planning on collaborating with the National Clinical Informatics team at Digital Health and Care Wales. We hope to be able to show to others how digital innovation can happen at the front line. There are great benefits from this, including get rapid and strong end-user input on builds and much faster benefits realisation.
How you can contribute
- Building clinical software on the front line is a new endevour for the NHS, at least in Gloucestershire. We need as much help and collaboration as we can get. We need clinical expertise as well as digital expertise. Later we will also need expertise to help us navigate the maze that is MHRA medical devices sign off. Also, as we want to make the digital pathway as modular as possible (whilst being safe and userfriendly), it is important to get input from many different specialities so that the digital pathway can be built to accommodate different diseases and ways of working.
|18 Mar 2022||Conference demo (Let's Talk Digital conference)|
|1 Jun 2022||MDT functionality completion|
|2 Oct 2022||1-2 new computer science placement students to start (funding needed)|