What can we learn about diagnostic safety culture in cancer referral pathways, which will inform future improvement and service design of diagnostic pathways across the NHS?
The NHS Long Term Plan has confirmed the future expansion of Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs) for expedient cancer diagnosis, particularly for patients with non-specific symptoms. These are novel fast referral services, located in hospitals which are equipped to explain the cause of non-specific symptoms, rather than merely ruling out a specific cancer type2. This has the potential to improve the currently unsafe pathways for patients with low-risk symptoms, which deliver fragmented, delayed care. However, there is a lack of evidence for how to implement these services in order to achieve optimal patient safety, and thus improve health outcomes.
This is an ethnographic project to explore how these new services approach patient safety in cancer referral pathways in comparison with alternative pathways such as standard and urgent referral, and emergency routes, to inform future improvement and service design of diagnostic pathways across the NHS.
- What can we learn about diagnostic safety culture in cancer referral pathways, which will inform future improvement and service design of diagnostic pathways across the NHS?
- How is safety is practiced in cancer referral pathways with and without an RDC, and what is the impact on staff, patients and the wider cancer referral pathway?
- How can we improve the culture of staff involved in diagnostic processes leading to diagnosis of cancer, thereby controlling / managing risk of delayed diagnosis?
Watch and listen to find out more about Georgia’s research
Georgia gave a lightning talk about her research project at our 2022 annual event, THIS Space.
Georgia opened the Yorkshire Quality and Safety group seminar series in 2023, where she spoke about improving safety in early diagnosis of cancer.
Watch Georgia’s HSR UK 2023 conference presentation in ‘Patients experiences of non-specific symptom pathways for cancer: an ethnographic study’
Black, G. B. et al. (2023) Early diagnosis of cancer: systems approach to support clinicians in primary care. BMJ.
Black, G.B. et al. (2022) Harnessing the Electronic Health Care Record to Optimize Patient Safety in Primary Care: Framework for Evaluating e–Safety-Netting Tools. JMIR Med Inform.