Availability of Diagnostic Services and their Impact on Patient Flow in Two Brazilian Referral Centres of Breast Cancer Treatment

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Postgraduate Program in Public Health, State University of Paraíba (UEPB), Campina Grande- Paraíba, Brazil.

2 Department of Statistics, State University of Paraíba (UEPB), Campina Grande- Paraíba, Brazil.

Abstract

Background: System delay (SD) is a leading cause of advanced stage of disease and poor prognosis among Brazilian breast cancer patients. Methods: Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analysis were used to identify variables that contributed to SD among 128 breast cancer patients. Time intervals between first medical consultation and treatment initiation were compared among patients of two referral centres: Patients of a referral centre with outsourced (FAP), respectively, integrated (HNL) diagnostic services. Results: Women who used a specialized private clinic at the beginning of patient flow had an 2.32 fold increased chance (95% CI: 1.17 - 4.60; p = 0.016) of hospital admission within 90 days after first medical consultation, compared to women who used a public health care provider (HCP). Of 73 and 34 patients of the FAP hospital and the HNL, respectively, 10 (13.7%) and 11 (32.5%) used one HCP prior to hospital admission (p = 0.000). The median time between first medical consultation and treatment initiation was 150 days. The median time between first medical consultation and hospital admission was 136.0 and 52.0 days for patients of the FAP hospital, respectively the HNL (p < 0.050). The median time between first medical consultation and diagnostic mammography was 36.5 and 23.0 days for patients from the FAP hospital and the HNL (p < 0.050). Conclusions: Usage of public diagnostic services was associated with increased SD, whereas the usage of private diagnostic services diminished it. The usage of a lower number of HCPs accelerated patient flow.

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