Reducing wait time for administration of systemic anticancer treatment (SACT) in a hospital outpatient facility

Angeline MacLeod, Fiona Campbell, Derick Macrae, Evelyn Gray, Leanne Miller, Michelle Beattie

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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The demand for systemic anticancer treatment continues to rise due to the increasing numbers being diagnosed with cancer and developments in treatment options. The net result is greater pressure on services and subsequent patient delays. Delays in treatment could decrease the benefit of the therapy and be detrimental to patient experience. Patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER 2) positive breast cancer within Raigmore Hospital waited an average of 41 min from the scheduled appointment time despite the administration of subcutaneous (SC) trastuzumab being scheduled for a 15 min treatment window. Given the frequency of these injections, this was having an adverse impact on patients and services. The aim of this project was for patients with breast cancer to receive treatment within the 15 min window. Lean principles were applied to reduce waste and increase value. Exploration of the problem led to the solution of relocating the administration of SC trastuzumab from the Macmillan Day Bed Unit (MDBU) to the Highland Breast Centre (HBC). Multiple improvement tools and techniques were used to implement the change. Data were collected on the median number of treatment episodes of SC trastuzumab per week at baseline and patient wait from appointment time to treatment completion was calculated at baseline and as an ongoing measure. Patient experience feedback was gathered following relocation of the treatment. Following relocation, the average time from scheduled appointment to discharge was 14 min (66% reduction). Patient experience feedback was positive and identified an unanticipated outcome; the regular Friday afternoon clinic, identified as most efficient for the service, was found by patients to be particularly convenient for their own planning. Through the application of Lean principles, the service was redesigned in a cost neutral way and resulted in a reduction in the wait time for treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBMJ Open Quality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2020


  • quality improvement


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