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Health Policy. 2016 Dec;120(12):1378-1382. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.09.008. Epub 2016 Oct 18.

The 2015 National Cancer Program in Sweden: Introducing standardized care pathways in a decentralized system.

Author information

1
Department of Evaluation and Analysis, Systems Analysis Unit, The National Board of Health and Welfare, Sweden; Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Family Medicine, Lund University, Sweden. Electronic address: jens.wilkens@med.lu.se.
2
Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Family Medicine, Lund University, Sweden. Electronic address: hans.thulesius@med.lu.se.
3
Department of Evaluation and Analysis, Systems Analysis Unit, The National Board of Health and Welfare, Sweden. Electronic address: ingrid.schmidt@socialstyrelsen.se.
4
Department of Evaluation and Analysis, Systems Analysis Unit, The National Board of Health and Welfare, Sweden; Institute of Clinical Sciences, Division of Oncology and Pathology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Electronic address: christina.carlsson@socialstyrelsen.se.

Abstract

Starting in 2015, the Swedish government has initiated a national reform to standardize cancer patient pathways and thereby eventually speed up treatment of cancer. Cancer care in Sweden is characterized by high survival rates and a generally high quality albeit long waiting times. The objective with the new national program to standardize cancer care pathways is to reduce these waiting times, increase patient satisfaction with cancer care and reduce regional inequalities. A new time-point for measuring the start of a care process is introduced called well-founded suspicion, which is individually designed for each cancer diagnosis. While medical guidelines are well established earlier, the standardisation is achieved by defining time boundaries for each step in the process. The cancer reform program is a collaborative effort initiated and incentivized by the central government while multi-professional groups develop the time-bound standardized care pathways, which the regional authorities are responsible for implementing. The broad stakeholder engagement and time-bound guidelines are interesting approaches to study for other countries that need to streamline care processes.

KEYWORDS:

Benchmarking; Clinical pathways; Continuity of patient care; Government programs; Health care reform; Standardized; Sweden; Waiting list

PMID:
27823827
DOI:
10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.09.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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