Doctors at Vernon Jubilee Hospital may be setting new standards in improving wait times for patients requiring Endoscopy and in diagnosing gastrointestinal cancers.
A new UBC study shows a new clinic model that began last year at the hospital has had dramatic results.
The study shows the Rapid Access Clinic for Endoscopy – also known as RACE – cut the average wait time for urgent Endoscopy by almost 90 per cent.
As a result, there were more than four times as many cancers diagnosed in this patients.
One of the study’s authors, Dr Jacqueline Reid, says it’s significant and patient outcomes can be improved.
The study shows that the time from referral from a family or emergency doctor to actually having an endoscopy was significantly reduced from 97.7 to 12.1 days.
Lead author, Dr. Hamish Hwang, VJH general surgeon and clinical assistant professor with the UBC Department of Surgery says “the clinic uses a direct-to-endoscopy process for worrisome symptoms like bleeding or weight loss.”
When “referrals are made from within the hospital or from family physicians in the community, patients bypass an office appointment and get their scope within two weeks.”
The study also found that when dedicating time for patients in hospital requiring an emergency endoscopy, nursing overtime costs for the hospital decreased by 69 per cent.
Dr. Hwang says the clinic works because of the cooperation between physicians and administrators to put the RACE model into action, and evaluate its effectiveness scientifically.
He says “This new clinic is a great example of how, when people put their heads together, they can improve patient care and lower costs”
Dr Hwang says he believes the clinic model could easily be adapted to fit within other community hospitals right across the country.
The study is published in the BC Medical Journal