The effect of the introduction of an electronic booking system to appropriately prioritise gastroscopies at a regional hospital in South Africa
Background. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that patients with dyspepsia as well as alarm symptoms, or those that are 55 years and older with new onset dyspepsia, urgently require an upper endoscopy within two weeks. The ‘Be Clear on Cancer Campaign’ launched by Public Health England estimated that 9% of deaths due to gastric and oesophageal cancers could have been avoided if the diagnosis was made at an earlier stage. Worcester Provincial Hospital (WPH) is a regional hospital in the Western Cape, South Africa, that due to resource constraints was unable to comply with these guidelines. An electronic endoscopy booking system was implemented in June 2014 to assist referring clinicians.
Objectives. To evaluate the ability of the booking system to appropriately prioritise and accommodate clinically appropriate patients for an urgent gastroscopy within 2 weeks at WPH.
Methods.Retrospective analysis of patients booked for urgent gastroscopies using the online booking system at WPH from July 2014 to June 2017.
Results.A total of 1 589 gastroscopies were performed, with 1 085 (65%) categorised as urgent by the booking system algorithm, during the study period. The median (interquartile range) waiting time for urgent gastroscopies was 19 (8 - 31) days and 437 (40%) patients underwent a gastroscopy within the recommended 2-week period. Of the patients undergoing gastroscopy within 2 weeks, 87 (20%) were diagnosed with upper gastrointestinal malignancies and 73 (17%) had significant benign pathology (stricture or ulcer). A total of 150 malignancies were diagnosed in the urgent patients of whom 87 (58%) were scoped within 2 weeks.
Conclusions. The volume of patients requiring urgent gastroscopy at WPH outstrips the available resources. The introduction of the online algorithm-based booking system was effective in prioritising patients. The use of this system facilitated a malignancy diagnosis rate which compares favourably with similar fast track endoscopy services in more developed countries.
K Booyse, Department of General Surgery, Worcester Provincial Hospital, Worcester, South Africa
O Swart, Department of General Surgery, Worcester Provincial Hospital, Worcester, South Africa; Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, Stellenbosch University, Worcester, South Africa
J Gouws, Department of General Surgery, Worcester Provincial Hospital, Worcester, South Africa
R Duvenage, Department of General Surgery, Worcester Provincial Hospital, Worcester, South Africa; Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, Stellenbosch University, Worcester, South Africa
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Date published: 2020-07-29
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