Background and Context:
The Victorian Cancer Services Framework (2003) recommended establishing tumour streams to reduce variations in practice. In response, the Department of Health developed the Optimal Care Pathways (formerly known as Patient Management Frameworks) to guide optimal management of people with cancer across fifteen tumour types.
The OCPs aim to improve cancer outcomes by providing a state-wide consistent approach to care that facilitates the auditing of pathways and service planning.
In 2013 the Department of Health Victoria partnered with the Cancer Council Victoria to undertake a review of the existing Patient Management Frameworks and consider the development of new additional pathways. The objectives of this update of the OCPs was to:
• ensure they reflect best contemporary evidence and practice;
• ensure their scope incorporates emerging areas of practice (for example, optimal communication and supportive care);
• develop consumer versions to assist patient and carers navigate the care pathway; and
• develop quick reference guides designed for use by General Practitioners to inform referral practices.
Recommendations for improving the pathways were identified via stakeholder consultation and a review of the literature. A generic template has been developed. Multidisciplinary expert working groups for each tumour stream have met to review and agree the content for four tumour streams. This was followed by waves of public consultation, key stakeholder review and consultation with relevant Colleges and peak organisations, before final publication.
Outcomes/What was learned:
The tumour streams which have been updated to date are: colorectal cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer. A new OCP has been developed for liver cancer. Work is commencing on updating OCPs for melanoma, lymphoma, and paediatric cancer.
Work on patient navigation aids is also progressing.
An implementation plan to guide their dissemination and use of OCP is being developed along with an evaluation strategy.