A multidisciplinary team of Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) staff were recently awarded a grand prize of $100,000 from Merck Canada and MaRS Discovery District (MaRS) Lung Cancer Innovation Challenge.
The competition challenged innovators to enhance the patient journey by reducing the length of time between diagnosis and treatment, especially for patient groups in rural and lower socioeconomic populations.
The team, led by Dr. Genevieve Digby and Dr. Christopher Parker, put forward a proposal to expand the model of the existing Lung Diagnostic Assessment Program (LDAP) clinics currently operating out of Hotel Dieu Hospital site to the Lennox & Addington County General Hospital (LACGH) in Napanee.
“Fourty per cent of the patients who currently come to the LDAP clinic live in Napanee or further west of the community,” says Dr. Digby. “It’s the ideal location for an outreach clinic and with the support of our regional partners would have the potential to see hundreds of patients every year.”
At the LDAP clinic, patients who have a suspected diagnosis of lung cancer are able to meet with a team of specialists sooner to shorten the time between referral, diagnosis, and ultimately, treatment. By exploring opportunities to expand the service to Napanee, the team hopes to continue to break down barriers to accessing care, and better serve patients in their local communities.
The team plans to use the funds to do additional research and community engagement during the early stages of planning. The team will also work with an Indigenous care lead to optimize culturally sensitive programming.
“We want to do this in a way that is best for patients, and make sure we really understand their concerns,” says Dr. Digby. “These funds will help us engage with the community to conduct a needs analysis and find ways to make this an ideal clinic for this population.”
The proposed concept of expanding this program to LACGH is one example of how, within the new model of the Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Ontario Health Team (FLA-OHT), experts at KHSC are working with regional health system partners to offer efficient, seamless and equitable health care to patients closer to their home.
“We know this model is efficient for patients and care providers,” explains Dr. Parker. “By expanding this successful model to a rural community we can break down system, geographic, cultural and economic barriers for patients to access this important care.”