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Br J Gen Pract. 2011 Dec;61(593):e821-35. doi: 10.3399/bjgp11X613160.

Interventions to reduce primary care delay in cancer referral: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Primary Care Sciences, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire. g.mansell@cphc.keele.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Reducing delay in the primary care part of the cancer care pathway is likely to improve cancer survival. Identifying effective interventions in primary care would allow action by primary healthcare professionals and local commissioners to reduce delay.

AIM:

To identify interventions that reduce primary care delay in the referral of patients with cancer to secondary care.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Systematic review in primary care.

METHOD:

Eight electronic databases were searched using terms for primary care, cancer, and delay. Exclusion criteria included screening and the 2-week-wait referral system. Reference lists of relevant papers were hand searched. The quality of each paper was assessed using predefined criteria, and checked by a second reviewer.

RESULTS:

Searches identified 1798 references, of which 22 papers were found to meet the criteria. Interventions concerning education, audit and feedback, decision support software and guideline use, diagnostic tools, and other specific skills training were identified. Most studies reported a positive effect on their specified outcomes, although no study measured a direct effect on reducing delay.

CONCLUSION:

There was no evidence that any intervention directly reduced primary care delay in the diagnosis of cancer. Limited evidence suggests that complex interventions, including audit and feedback and specific skills training, have the potential to do so.

PMID:
22137419
PMCID:
PMC3223780
DOI:
10.3399/bjgp11X613160
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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