The aim of this study was to examine the feasibility and impact of a fast-track referral pathway on clinical time intervals in penile cancer.
This observational study from a tertiary referral centre included 263 patients diagnosed before and after the introduction of an intervention to reduce clinical time intervals, the Cancer Patient Pathway (CPP). The CPP included fast-track referral and set time-frames for units participating in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and was introduced for penile cancer in Denmark on 1 January 2009. Median time intervals (in calendar days) with interquartile range were the main outcome measure.
A trend towards reduction was observed in all clinical time intervals, with a statistically significant reduction in the system interval (p = 0. 01) and tertiary centre interval (p < 0. 0001). The proportion of patients treated within the maximum accepted time-frame of 37 days after referral steadily increased after implementation of the CPP. In particular, unjustified waiting time was reduced significantly. This was mainly achieved through pre-booking of appointments and diagnostic time slots by a dedicated clinical coordinator.
To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study examining the feasibility and impact of an intervention to reduce clinical time intervals in penile cancer. The Danish CPP was successful in reducing system and tertiary centre intervals. Future interventions need to address the long patient interval. Longer follow-up is needed to study the impact of CPP on mortality.
Scandinavian journal of urology. 2015 Aug 27 [Epub ahead of print]
Jakob Kristian Jakobsen, Jørgen Bjerggaard Jensen
a Department of Urology, Aarhus University Hospital , Aarhus, Denmark.