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Creating an all-informed network to speed vital radiology information

December 18, 2016

Dr William King, Consultant Radiologist, St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight writes: as soon as a radiologist gets a whiff that someone has cancer we shout it from the treetops to the people that matter, not just the person who has sent them for the scan.
Following a discussion with an oncologist during the 2016 CUP Peer Review process, that encourages good practice and idea-sharing, an oncologist told Dr King that she has an informal arrangement with Radiology that when any new cancer is found she is e-mailed.
I’ve taken this one step further here and divided into the cancer sub group with a copy going to that cancer sub groups nurse specialist/secretaries as well as an urgent fax going back to the referrer. This means patients are going onto the MDTs, clinic appointments being made, and referrals being chased from the other end of the pathway. Sometimes even before the GP’s/hospital doctors have even started writing a referral letter.
We now also embed a secret code into the reports that do not mean anything to anybody reading them however our secretaries run a report search four times a day for this term. This harvests any urgent reports which they immediately print and fax/telephone through. Again this sometimes happens before we’ve remembered to ask them to print and send the reports!
Its simple and has not cost anything but I hope has massively sped up referrals. Especially important in CUP patients. Often we’ve realised they’ve been ‘sat on’ whilst clinicians work out what to do. This is especially important in patients being looked after by GPs or locum consultants who do not know our cancer pathways.

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