Rapid implementation of an evidence-based remote triaging system
for assessment of suspected head and neck cancer referrals and patients
on follow up after treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic: A model for
Outpatient telemedicine consultations are being adopted to triage patients for head and neck cancer. However, there is currently no established structure to frame this consultation.
For suspected cancer referrals, we adapted the Head and Neck Cancer Risk Calculator (HaNC-RC)-V.2, generated from 10,244 referrals with the following diagnostic efficacy metrics: 85% sensitivity, 98.6% negative predictive value and area under the curve of 0.89. For follow up patients, a symptom inventory generated from 5,123 follow-up consultations was used. A customised Excel Data Tool was created, trialled across professional groups and made freely available for download at www.entintegrate.co.uk/entuk2wwtt
, alongside a user guide, protocol and registration link for the project. Stakeholder support was obtained from national bodies.
No remote consultations were refused by patients. Preliminary data from 511 triaging episodes at 13 centres show that 77.1% of patients were discharged directly or have had their appointments deferred.
Significant reduction in footfall can be achieved using a structured triaging system. Further refinement of HaNC-RC V.2 is feasible and the authors welcome international collaboration.