23 July 2020

In the journal Cancer RIHS researcher Henrieke Schutte and her colleagues of Radboudumc’s Center of Head and Neck Oncology studied the outcomes after the implementation of a fast-track, multidisciplinary, integrated care program for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC).

This optimized workup included (1) a 1-day oncological workup involving all relevant medical and allied health professionals, including geriatric screening and assessment (2) the introduction of transnasal digital video endoscopy and office-based biopsy of laryngopharyngeal lesions (instead of the conventional endoscopy in general anesthesia), (3) performing all the necessary imaging within two days, including an instant check of adequacy of the fine needle aspiration cytology, and (4) the establishment of a treatment plan in the multidisciplinary tumor board meeting on day 3.

After the implementation of this fast-track multidisciplinary integrated care program, the interval from the first consultation to the start of treatment was considerably shortened, overall survival significantly improved, patient satisfaction increased, and costs remained unaltered. Optimizing the diagnostic track and quality of care in head and neck cancer was demonstrated to result in better oncologic outcomes and excellent patient reported experiences without increases in costs.

Impact of optimizing diagnostic workup and reducing the time to treatment in head and neck cancer.
Schutte HW, van den Broek GB, Steens SCA, Hermens RPMG, Honings J, Marres HAM, Merkx MAW, Weijs WLJ, Arens AIJ, van Engen-van Grunsven ACH, van Herpen CML, Kaanders JHAM, van den Hoogen FJA, Takes RP.

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