Supporting Earlier Cancer Diagnosis and Efficient Referral Pathways in General Practice
General practice plays a key role in early cancer diagnosis both through improving uptake of cancer screening and through appropriate assessment of patients with symptoms suggestive of cancer. Currently cancer patients in the Western Health region in Victoria have poorer cancer outcomes, and significant waiting times for upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy.
In response to this Western Health has developed a fast track referral route (The Rapid Access for Gastro-intestinal Endoscopy pathway (RAGE)) . This pathway assists GPs to refer high risk patients for an urgent gastrointestinal endoscopy. This initiative will be evaluated by determining its uptake by GPs, auditing patient referrals to the RAGE pathway and undertaking critical incident analyses.
This program is a proof-of-concept design to improve cancer diagnosis in the public health care system. It provides insight into improving the appropriate use of state-funded cancer diagnostic services, in particular GI endoscopy. Currently Victoria has very high rates of GI endoscopy, especially colonoscopy, which may be partly due to poor case selection in primary care. Certain regions in Victoria, including the Western district, have relatively poor cancer outcomes.
This project will create the opportunity to develop a model of implementation of this rapid access referal system which could be applied to other cancer streams and hospital sites in Victoria.
- Professor Jon Emery, Herman Professor of Primary Care Cancer Research,
- Mary Kyriakides, Research Assistant
- Associate Professor Alan Moss, Director of Endoscopic Services, Western Health
- Cancer Council Victoria