Evaluation of the palliative radiotherapy pathway in a single institute: Can an MR Linac improve efficiency?
AffiliationThe Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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AbstractBackground Palliative radiotherapy (RT) is effectively used to relieve cancer related symptoms. The demand for these services is increasing worldwide. Rapid response clinics have been developed as a means to streamline the palliative RT radiotherapy process and increase efficiency and improve patient experiences. Key components to successful rapid response palliative RT are access to care, streamlined services and innovation. To successfully implement a rapid response RT programme, it is essential to identify gaps between currently provided care and ideal or enhanced care. The aims of this work are to audit the current palliative RT workflow at our institution both prior to and during the coronavirus pandemic. This work reports the impact of covid-19 on rate of palliative RT referrals and proposes a radiographer led, MR guided rapid response workflow to reduce wait times Methods A retrospective audit of palliative radiotherapy booking forms was completed over a two yearperiod (2019-2020) to assess the current pathway both prior to and during the covid-19 pandemic. This audit identified patients who had received urgent/emergency spinal RT in the specified timeframe. Further data on these patients was collected using departmental oncology information systems to form a detailed analysis of the pathway and wait times. Data was recorded and analysed using Microsoft Excel. Results A total of 813 patients met the inclusion criteria for this audit. Data was reported for 2019 and 2020 separately to determine any significant impact caused by the covid-19 pandemic. In 2020 there was an 11.5% increase in referrals for palliative radiotherapy with an equal portion (81%) of total referrals in each year being for single fractions. Timelines from referral to treatment delivery were reported, with those patients receiving same day single fraction RT palliative radiotherapy undergoing further analysis to determine the amount of time spent in the department. Mean wait time for these patients was 5 hours and 20 minutes in 2019 but increased by 20.9% in 2020. Conclusions The increasing demand for palliative RT due to rising global cancer rates and extended life expectancy due to advanced systemic treatments may lead to increased wait times. An increase in both referrals and mean wait time was seen during the covid-19 pandemic. Improving efficiency and access to care is essential for this population. The MR Linac could play a role in streamlining palliative RT workflows due to its ability to employ a scan, plan and treat model in a single session. This work forms preliminary support for the development of a trial one stop palliative program on the MR Linac.
CitationBenson R, Clough A, Nelder C, Pitt E, Portner R, Vassiliou M, et al. Evaluation of the palliative radiotherapy pathway in a single institute: Can an MR Linac improve efficiency? J Med Imaging Radiat Sci. 2021.
JournalJ Med Imaging Radiat Sci
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