Impact of radiographer immediate reporting of chest X-rays from general practice on the lung cancer pathway (radioX): study protocol for a randomised control trial.
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BACKGROUND: Diagnostic capacity and suboptimal logistics are consistently identified as barriers to timely diagnosis of cancer, especially lung cancer. Immediate chest X-ray (CXR) reporting for patients referred from general practice is advocated in the National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway to improve time to diagnosis of lung cancer and to reduce inappropriate urgent respiratory medicine referral for suspected cancer (2WW) referrals. The aim of radioX is to examine the impact of immediate reporting by radiographers of CXRs requested by general practice (GP) on lung cancer patient pathways. METHODS: A two-way comparative study that will compare the time to diagnosis of lung cancer for patients. Internal comparison will be made between those who receive an immediate radiographer report of a GP CXR compared to standard radiographer GP CXR reporting over a 12-month period. External comparison will be made with a similar, neighbouring hospital trust that does not have radiographer CXR reporting. Primary outcome is the effect on the speed of the lung cancer pathway (diagnosis of cancer or discharge). Secondary outcomes include the effect of the pathway on efficiency including the number of repeat CXRs performed in a timely fashion for suspected infection and the effect of immediate reporting of GP CXRs on patient satisfaction. DISCUSSION: The radioX trial will examine the hypothesis that immediate reporting of CXRs referred from GP reduces the time to diagnosis of lung cancer or discharge from the lung cancer pathway. TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number ISRCTN21818068 . Registered on 20 June 2017.