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The effects of cancer care pathways on waiting times

Magdalena Smeds (Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Bozena Bonnie Poksinska (Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 13 December 2018

Issue publication date: 11 June 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The Swedish health-care system currently implements cancer care pathways (CCPs) for better and more timely cancer diagnostics. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate and define “crowding out” effects associated with the CCP implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

A document study based on implementation reports and action plans from Swedish county councils (n = 21) and a case study in one county council were conducted. Qualitative data collection and analysis were used to acquire more knowledge about the “crowding out” effects associated with the CCP implementation.

Findings

Three effects discussed under “crowding out” were defined. The first effect, called the push-out effect, occurs when other patients have to wait for care longer in favour of CCP patients. Another effect is the inclusion effect, whereby “crowding out” is reduced for vulnerable patients due to the standardised procedures and criteria in the referral process. The final effect is the exclusion effect, where patients in need of cancer diagnostics are, for some reason, not referred to CCP. These patients are either not diagnosed at all or diagnosed outside CCP by a non-standard process, with the risk of longer waiting times.

Originality/value

“Crowding out” effects are an urgent topic related to CCP implementation. While these effects have been reported in international research studies, no shared definition has been established to describe them. The present paper creates a common base to measure the “crowding out” effects and support further development of CCPs to avoid the negative effects on waiting times.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Disclosure statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Citation

Smeds, M. and Poksinska, B.B. (2019), "The effects of cancer care pathways on waiting times", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 204-216. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQSS-04-2018-0041

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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