Cancer remains a significant healthcare challenge in West Yorkshire and Harrogate, with 250 people being diagnosed with cancer every week, and 115 individuals losing their lives to this condition. Despite some progress, cancer outcomes in disadvantaged communities continue to lag, exacerbated by the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With one in two people born after 1960 expected to face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, and four out of ten cancers being preventable through lifestyle changes, the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance is playing a crucial role in addressing this pressing issue. In collaboration with partners across the region, they are working tirelessly to transform outcomes throughout the entire cancer care pathway.
One significant partner in this endeavour is e18 Innovation, which has been actively involved in automation projects to support cancer care targets in the region.
At e18 Innovation, a strong belief in the power of collaboration and strategic alignment drives their healthcare transformation efforts. Their partnership with the West Yorkshire Cancer Alliance is part of a broader regional initiative across West Yorkshire Integrated Care Systems (ICS). This commitment to working closely with healthcare stakeholders at all levels aims to foster collaboration, integration, and transformative change across the entire region.
Intelligent Automation is a game-changer in the realm of cancer care. It can be applied to various aspects of the cancer care pathway, including referral processing, screening, diagnosis, triage, and treatments. This technology seamlessly integrates with Electronic Patient Record systems and Cancer Registers, ensuring maximum productivity and timely information sharing.
Intelligent Automation plays a pivotal role in helping the NHS meet crucial cancer care targets. It aids in reducing waiting times and ensuring compliance with referral to treatment (RTT) standards. By automating manual tasks, such as tracking patients through complex care pathways and managing data across various clinical systems, Intelligent Automation enhances clinical outcomes. This technology allows the NHS to identify and treat patients more efficiently, leading to improved patient care.
Sharon Osterfield – Transformation Director, e18 Innovation says“Embracing the potential of a digital workforce can allow trusts to unlock productivity gains, by eliminating a significant amount of manual processing. Moreover, this approach holds the promise of facilitating early detection, thereby reducing clinical risks and improving patient outcomes.”
Some use cases which are being applied to the cancer pathways are:
Referral Management & Prioritisation:
Intelligent automation can streamline the referral process. This ensures that patients receive timely access to the appropriate healthcare services, reducing delays and improving the overall patient experience.
Diagnostics & Results Monitoring:
Automation can monitor and track diagnostic tests and results, alerting the NHS teams to abnormal findings or delays in reporting. This proactive approach enables prompt interventions and timely communication with patients, contributing to quicker diagnosis and treatment initiation.
Waiting Time Breach Validation:
Automation can help the NHS validate waiting time breaches, ensuring compliance with established standards and targets. By identifying breaches early, the NHS can take corrective actions to prevent further delays and optimise resource allocation.
Intelligent automation can facilitate appointment scheduling, rescheduling, and cancellations efficiently. It also helps in optimising appointment slots based on patient preferences and clinical priorities, reducing DNA’s and maximising resource utilisation.
Efficient data transfer between healthcare systems and providers is crucial for seamless patient care. Automation ensures secure and accurate data exchange, improving care coordination, reducing errors, and enhancing patient safety.
Patient Recall/Screening Reminders:
Automation can send timely reminders to patients for scheduled screenings, follow-up appointments, or preventive care. This proactive approach encourages patient engagement and adherence to recommended healthcare interventions.
MDT Patient Pathway Tracking:
For complex cases requiring multidisciplinary care, automation helps track patients through various stages of their treatment journey. This ensures that all specialists involved are informed and can collaborate effectively, leading to comprehensive and well-coordinated care.
Patient Initiated Follow-up (PIFU):
Automation empowers patients to initiate follow-up appointments or seek medical advice through digital platforms. This patient-centric approach enhances accessibility, reduces administrative burdens, and promotes self-management, particularly for chronic conditions.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has been at the forefront of driving innovation through automation in cancer care in the region.
e18 Innovation played a vital role in supporting trusts throughout the recent regional funding allocation process for the West Yorkshire Cancer Alliance. They actively hosted workshops that provided collaborative environments for healthcare professionals and stakeholders to refine their automation initiatives. These efforts were aligned with the overarching goals of the funding program.
In addition, e18 Innovation’s team diligently collected essential metrics to establish a data-driven foundation for allocation decisions. Their financial modelling support ensured that resources were allocated based on matching the specific needs and objectives of each initiative. This comprehensive support streamlined the funding process, facilitating informed decision-making.
As the region faces the challenge of addressing the backlog of cancer care, embracing a digital workforce promises to unlock significant productivity gains. By eliminating manual processes, reducing clinical risks, and facilitating early detection, Intelligent Automation has the potential to revolutionise cancer care in West Yorkshire and Harrogate.