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Q&A: Why is endoscopy surveillance important?

Endoscopy surveillance image of clinicians using an endoscope

Endoscopy surveillance is a crucial aspect of healthcare that involves monitoring patients at a higher risk of certain conditions, particularly gastrointestinal diseases.

We spoke with our resident endoscopy expert and lead JAG assessor, Debbie Johnston to find out more.


Debbie, what is the purpose of endoscopy surveillance?

Endoscopy surveillance is important for detecting abnormalities early, preventing cancer, monitoring chronic conditions, guiding treatment decisions, and improving patient outcomes and quality of life.

The primary goal of surveillance is to detect abnormalities or early signs of diseases, such as upper GI and bowel cancer, in patients who have specific risk factors. By closely monitoring high-risk individuals, healthcare providers can intervene promptly if any concerning changes are observed.

It also helps in planning appropriate treatments and interventions based on the patient’s condition.


Who Benefits from Endoscopy Surveillance?

Surveillance is essential for high-risk individuals, or patients with a history of certain conditions, for example, inflammatory bowel disease, who are at an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers.

It is also key for post-treatment monitoring, as timely detection and treatment ensure that patients receive surveillance endoscopies at appropriate intervals according to national clinical guidelines

For patients, timely surveillance allows for the early detection of abnormalities and prompt intervention, particularly particularly cancer, which can improve treatment outcomes and prevent disease progression.

It is also worth noting that it benefits NHS organisations and endoscopy services to manage patients identified for surveillance efficiently this patient cohort as per agreed timelines and ensure that any overdue patients are transferred to the active waiting list promptly.


Are there any challenges that come with endoscopy surveillance?

As with all services, challenges are met, for example, balancing new referrals with planned surveillance cases can be challenging for many NHS Organisations.

It can also impact resource allocation, prioritising surveillance for high-risk patients with often limited and time-stretched resources.

We also need to ensure that patients understand the importance of surveillance by offering them educational materials and knowledgeable staff to help reduce any DNAs that may occur from people not thinking their appointments are important.

quote from Debbie Johnston about endoscopy surveillance

How can Four Eyes Insight support NHS organisations with endoscopy surveillance management?

Ensuring thorough and timely follow-up is crucial for patient care and something that Four Eyes Insight can help with, including:

  • Demand and Capacity Modelling: We can deliver clinically credible, robust, and granular D&C modelling that supports long-term planning and operational control of waits.
  • Data Analysis and Management: We can assist in analysing backlog data to identify trends, assess the impact on patient outcomes, and develop strategies for preventing future backlogs.
  • Resource Allocation: Limited resources, such as staff and equipment, can impact surveillance efficiency. We can provide support in optimising resource allocation based on patient risk stratification and procedural requirements.
  • Resource Optimisation: We can provide support on allocating resources efficiently to address the backlog, whether it involves scheduling additional clinic hours, redistributing staff responsibilities, or outsourcing certain tasks.
  • Workflow Streamlining: We can help identify bottlenecks in your surveillance workflow and suggest strategies for streamlining processes to reduce wait times and improve efficiency.
  • Quality Governance: Maintaining high-quality surveillance practices is essential for the accurate detection and monitoring of gastrointestinal conditions. We can assist by keeping you updated on best practices, guidelines, and quality indicators in endoscopy surveillance.
  • Communication: We can assist in communicating with patients to explain the importance of their surveillance appointments and encourage them to schedule follow-up visits promptly.


You mention Demand and Capacity Modelling, what is the importance of this?

Balancing demand and capacity for endoscopy surveillance is vital for providing timely, efficient, and high-quality care. It supports early detection and management of diseases, ensures optimal use of resources, and informs effective endoscopy service planning and policy making. Demand for endoscopy tests is increasing and can be influenced by various factors, including public awareness, referral practices, and changes in screening guidelines. Hospitals need to be adaptable to these changes. Understanding capacity helps in the efficient allocation of resources, including staffing, equipment, and facilities, ensuring that the endoscopy service can meet current and future demand without overburdening providers or facilities.

We already know that our NHS partners value the service that we offer. What Four Eyes Insight offers is a clinically credible, robust, and granular D&C model that supports balancing demand and capacity, reducing endoscopy backlogs.

A strong D&C model for all tests is important to patient care, ensuring they receive timely and quality care. Our modelling contributes to service planning and efficiency, and with granular data, we can really get into the nitty-gritty and identify any improvements and/or opportunities to enhance productivity and system-level planning. It’s also worth mentioning that all these elements have a strong impact on staff well-being, leading to reduced pressure and stress.


Thanks, Debbie, any final thoughts?

Yes, I always say data is king. You need to measure and understand performance before you do anything else. So, ditch the spreadsheets and get the right technology in place to make data collection and analysis easy and accessible.

If you’d like to hear how we can help your endoscopy service, contact us today.

Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn:  Debbie Johnston | LinkedIn