The impact of standardized care pathway on reporting time for invasive melanoma – results from one pathology department in Sweden

  • Margrét Agnarsdóttir Department of Clinical Pathology, Akademiska University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3197-0053
  • Helen Päären Department of Clinical Pathology, Akademiska University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Ismini Vassilaki Dermipath, Consulting Dermatopathology Service, Stockholm, Sweden
Keywords: Diagnosis, melanoma, pathology, quality, reporting time, standardized care pathway

Abstract

Background: Standardized care pathway (SCP) was introduced by the Swedish health authorities to eliminate unwanted delay in the diagnostics of cancer patients; for melanoma, SCP started in 2016. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of SCP on reporting time for invasive melanomas.

Materials and methods: Information on reporting time was collected on all samples handled according to the SCP and on all invasive melanomas diagnosed in 2016–2018 at the Department of Clinical Pathology, Akademiska University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.

Results: During the study period, 205 samples were handled according to the SCP, resulting in 53 cases (26%) diagnosed with invasive melanomas. A total of 301 invasive melanomas from 286 patients were diagnosed during the study period; 67 (22%) were submitted as SCP, 36 (12%) as a general priority case, and 198 (66%) as non-priority. The reporting time for the SCP cases was 8 days, for general priority cases 6 days, and for non-priority cases it was 24 days. The reporting time increased from 18 to 31 days for the non-priority cases and from 15 to 25 days for all cases with invasive melanomas during the study period.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates prolonged reporting times for invasive melanomas since the implementation of SCP. This is probably caused by the crowd-out effect of the SCP samples, limited personnel resources, and inaccuracy of the clinical diagnosis. SCP might therefore be a suboptimal method to shorten reporting times for invasive melanomas.

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Published
2019-10-29
How to Cite
Agnarsdóttir, M., Päären, H., & Vassilaki, I. (2019). The impact of standardized care pathway on reporting time for invasive melanoma – results from one pathology department in Sweden. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 124(4), 260–264. https://doi.org/10.1080/03009734.2019.1675102
Section
Original Articles