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Breathlessness diagnosis tool piloted by ICB

Breathlessness diagnosis tool piloted by ICB
By Beth Gault
9 May 2024

A clinical pathway tool that hopes to reduce delayed diagnosis of breathlessness is being piloted in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland ICB (LLR).

It aims to enable GPs to diagnose the underlying causes of breathlessness in primary care, without having to refer patients to hospital.

Patient test results will be integrated into the tool, called the Lenus Diagnose pathway product, through the Leicester Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) from this autumn, and through the Hinckley CDC when operational early 2025. It will combine triage, parallel testing and an integrated approach to diagnosis data capture, according to its supplier Lenus Heath.

The pathway streamlines the steps for diagnosis which would typically include presentation referral, assessment, multiple appointments, and possibly outpatient diagnosis appointments. It can then recommend remote specialist input earlier than typical patient pathways.

Funding for the 12-month pilot has come through the ICB, with the option to extend it further, and includes primary care, secondary care and the University of Leicester.

Dr Louise Ryan, GP and clinical lead for respiratory illness at LLR ICB, said: ‘Breathing difficulties affect many patients in our local area and this initiative will help us, in many cases, to diagnose the underlying cause in GP practices, without having to refer patients to secondary care.

‘This will speed up diagnosis for patients and means that they can be treated sooner, without having to visit a hospital.’

Dr Rachael Evans, respiratory consultant physician and clinical lead for the existing breathlessness LLR pathway at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: ‘Our research at University of Leicester shows delays to diagnosis are associated with worse patient outcomes and hospital admissions, and that earlier parallel testing can help.

‘This project has the potential to improve the local situation by effective implementation of the diagnostic breathlessness pathway through the CDC and Lenus software enabling remote earlier specialist input where needed.’

Jim McNair, director at Lenus Health, said: ‘Breathlessness diagnosis is complex and we are delighted to be working in partnership across Leicestershire healthcare providers to optimise activities and join up data to speed up diagnosis and time to treatment.

‘This not only helps the patients themselves but reduces pressure at our hospital front doors because of undiagnosed and untreated disease.’

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