QIMR Berghofer

Evaluating a risk assessment tool to improve triaging of patients to colonoscopies.


BACKGROUND: Colonoscopy is the gold standard in the diagnosis of significant bowel disease (SBD), including colorectal cancer, high risk adenoma and inflammatory bowel disease. As the demand for colonoscopy services is placing significant pressure on hospital resources, new solutions are needed to more efficiently and effectively manage patients. AIM: We investigated the impact of using a risk assessment tool (RAT) to improve selection of patients for colonoscopy procedures to detect SBD. METHODS: A hybrid simulation model was constructed to replicate the current patient triage bookings and waiting times in a large metropolitan hospital. The model used data on 327 patients who were retrospectively assessed for risk of SBD. Risk assessment incorporated blood and faecal immunochemical test results, gender and age in addition to patient symptoms. The model was calibrated over 12 months to current outcomes and was compared with the RAT and a third scenario where low-risk patients did not proceed to a colonoscopy. One-way sensitivity analyses were undertaken. RESULTS: Using the RAT was expected to shorten waiting times by 153 days for moderately-urgent patients and 138 days for non-urgent patients. If low-risk patients did not proceed to colonoscopy, waiting times were expected to reduce for patients with SBD by 17 days producing cost-savings of AU$373,824 through avoided colonoscopies. CONCLUSIONS: A hybrid model that combines patient-level characteristics with hospital-level resource constraints can demonstrate improved efficiency in a hospital clinic. Further research on risk assessment is required to improve quality patient care and reduce low-value service delivery. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Authors Elliott, Thomas M; Lord, Anton; Simms, Lisa A; Radford-Smith, Graham; Valery, Patricia C; Gordon, Louisa G
Pages 1292-1299
Volume 49
Date 1/02/2019
Grant ID 1083090
Funding Body Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1111/imj.14267