Finding the Key to the Lock: Development of the Access Coordinator role in a Cancer Imaging Department (#68)
The diagnosis of cancer and decisions about optimal management are reliant on timely access to a Cancer Imaging Department (CID). The CID at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre completes an average of 31,000 scans (CT, PET, US, MRI) and interventions per year but until recently did not have an established triage process resulting in lengthy delays for clinicians and patients.
To establish timely and appropriate access for patients, reduce interruptions for reporting radiologists and improve workflow within the department.
A CID Access Co-ordinator role was developed and became the central point of access for referring clinicians. This role was filled by a specialist cancer nurse. All procedures, inpatient and outpatient bookings that were not able to be booked in the required time frame were triaged by the Access Co-ordinator. Essential clinical information was gathered and discussed with the triaging radiologist, radiographers working in the modalities as well as the referring clinicians to ensure an appropriate time was allocated.
The wait time for imaging decreased from six weeks to same day and reports were finalised within 48hours (previously 72). Interrupting phone calls to the radiographers (staff performing the scan) have decreased from approximately 25 per day to zero and there has also been a reduction in the interruptions to the reporting radiologist (staff reporting the scans). Clinician feedback indicates satisfaction with the efficiency of the triaging process, timeliness of imaging and access to results.
Overall the introduction of the CID Access Co-ordinator has established timely and appropriate access for patient, promoting optimal patient care in the CID.