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Leicestershire NHS bodies aim for digital approach to diagnosing breathlessness


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board has begun a project to digitally transform its breathlessness diagnostic pathway.

It is working with Lenus Health to use digital tools to reduce delays to diagnosis, initially at the Leicester and Hinckley Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs).

The project will involve configuration of the Lenus Diagnose pathway product and combine triage, parallel testing and a streamlined, integrated and structured approach to diagnosis data capture, bringing in remote specialist input earlier into decision making.

The test results of patients at Leicester CDC and, when it opens early next year, Hinckley CDC, will be integrated into the pathway aligning with the GP Direct Access guidelines.

Treating patients sooner

Dr Louise Ryan, GP and clinical lead for respiratory illness at Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (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.”

Lenus Health said that breathlessness affects around 10% of the UK population and is often very complex to diagnose.

To complement the CDC project, an InnovateUK funded AKT2i project between the University of Leicester and Lenus Health, will support amongst other activities evidence generation of the interventions benefits.

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