Patient and carer experiences of lung cancer referral pathway in a regional health service: a qualitative study

Otty, Zulfiquer, Brown, Amy, Larkins, Sarah, Evans, Rebecca, and Sabesan, Sabe (2023) Patient and carer experiences of lung cancer referral pathway in a regional health service: a qualitative study. Internal Medicine Journal, 53 (11). pp. 2016-2027.

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Background: Lung cancer referral pathways aim to reduce delays and improve referral patterns of people with suspected lung cancer.

Aim: As part of implementing a lung cancer referral pathway at a regional Australian hospital, this study aimed to explore the experiences and perceptions of people with lung cancer and their carers.

Methods: In-depth interviews were used to elicit data for thematic analysis in this cross-sectional descriptive qualitative study. Patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer and their carers at a regional academic cancer centre were invited to participate in interviews. Five interviews were conducted face-to-face, and 14 interviews were conducted by telephone (as per interviewee preference). Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed and qualitatively analysed. Descriptive phrases were used to generate initial inductive codes and themes.

Results: Nineteen participants approached agreed to take part in the study. Factors that positively impacted the care experience were good communication, timeliness and patient advocacy and support. Improper communication, long waiting times for investigations and appointments, uncertainty about the process and inconsistent advice from providers negatively impacted the care experience. Participants preferred face-to-face or video-linked consultations over telephone consultations.

Conclusions: Understanding the experiences of rural and regional patients and carers with the lung cancer referral pathway is important to improve quality of care. Implementing changes to the referral pathway to improve patient and carer experiences needs to be an ongoing quality improvement exercise.

Item ID: 80203
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1445-5994
Keywords: lung cancer; referral pathway; patient experience; qualitative study; regional and rural health
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Internal Medicine Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Royal Australasian College of Physicians.This is an open access article under the terms of theCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes/
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2023 01:13
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3211 Oncology and carcinogenesis > 321102 Cancer diagnosis @ 30%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420311 Health systems @ 35%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420312 Implementation science and evaluation @ 35%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200206 Health system performance (incl. effectiveness of programs) @ 70%
20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200101 Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions @ 30%
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