Streamlining endoscopy resources post COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many hospitals to suspend or severely delay endoscopy services, resulting in a massive backlog of associated referrals after each wave. During these unprecedented times, patients still require investigation through endoscopy, but the heightened strain on the healthcare system has potentially delayed the diagnosis of gastrointestinal (GI) problems, resulting in poorer outcomes for these patients.
The British Society of Gastroenterology Clinical Services and Standards Committee commissioned a survey to assess the precise impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on endoscopy resources in the UK. The results showed that during the first wave in May, 2020, 97 % of clinics were still providing emergency and essential endoscopies, but only 11 % provided urgent, and 5 % provided routine endoscopies . And, although these latter services recovered shortly afterwards – to 92 % and 52 % respectively in September, 2020 – the full impact the delays had on patients is as yet unclear . Gastric cancer is typically diagnosed at a very late stage, with an abysmal five-year survival rate, and further delays in diagnosis will only hamper these outcomes further.
These figures highlight the need to streamline the pathway for patients presenting with GI problems where something more sinister – like a pre-cancerous condition – is suspected. BIOHIT offers several simple tests that can aid in the assessment of stomach health either before or during endoscopy, including:
- GastroPanel®, which is designed to effectively rule out diseases of the gastric mucosa characterised by Helicobacter pylori infection and atrophic gastritis before an invasive and resource-heavy endoscopy, and;
- UFT300 Helicobacter pylori Quick Test®, which is an ultra-fast urease test that has revolutionised the way H. pylori infection is diagnosed and reported in endoscopy.
Pre-screening patients before endoscopy
As discussed in an earlier blog, GastroPanel is a reliable blood test panel that comprises four stomach-specific biomarkers to enable a thorough investigation of the whole gastric mucosa, offering clinicians a clearer vision of stomach health before endoscopy. GastroPanel selectively stratifies and screens the cohort of patients who are at a higher risk of developing – or have – pre-cancerous conditions, and gets them to endoscopy at an earlier stage. This can potentially result in better patient care by identifying pre-neoplastic conditions earlier, and increases the diagnostic yield in secondary care by only referring patients who are in the higher risk category.
Key advantages of GastroPanel
- Offers a risk-free, non-invasive and user-friendly blood test panel for primary or secondary care settings
- Reliably detects healthy stomach mucosa, atrophic gastritis, functional and organic dyspepsia, acid dysregulation, and H. pylori infection
- Guides patient management and referral to reduce waiting times
- Helps to identify patients most at risk of developing gastric cancer prior to endoscopy
- Reduces cost burden on the healthcare system
Accelerating H. pylori diagnosis at the point of care
Even once a patient gets to endoscopy, faster diagnosis streamlines the patient workflow and frees up valuable resources. Our market leading UFT300 H. pylori Quick Test is made for just this, with highly accurate confirmation of a negative result in only five minutes at the point of care, before the patient has even left the endoscopy suite. This rapid kit enhances the quality and speed of service, providing the opportunity to test, report and treat the patient in a single visit, and avoid unnecessary administration and reporting.
Key advantages of the UFT300 H. pylori Quick Test
- Ready to use
- Results in just 5 minutes
- High accuracy that minimises false positives and false negatives
- Direct results during the endoscopy procedure
- Room temperature storage
As lockdowns ease and the pandemic – hopefully – decreases in severity with ongoing vaccination efforts, it is a good time to look at the options that could ease the burden on endoscopy resources in the future. The NHS has been stretched like never before, and a clearer pathway is needed to triage higher risk patients for endoscopy, and achieve faster turnaround times once there. BIOHIT has proven solutions to these problems, and feels a responsibility to help alleviate future strains on the healthcare system, with the ultimate goal of assisting healthcare professionals in improving patient care.
1. The British Society of Gastroenterology. 2021. An Update to Information and Guidance for Endoscopy Services in the COVID-19 Pandemic | The British Society of Gastroenterology. [online] Available at: https://www.bsg.org.uk/covid-19-advice/an-update-to-information-and-guidance-for-endoscopy-services-in-the-covid-19-pandemic-2/ [Accessed 10 June 2021].