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Novel method to plan and design services. Using software to optimise the head and neck cancer patient's commute to hospital

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Michael Goodfellow, James O'HaraORCiD


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© 2023 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeonsTravelling for hospital appointments represents a significant burden to patients. We have developed a computer programme that accurately evaluates patient commutes between their home and treatment hospital in public and private transport. This has been applied to a cohort of Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) patients to plan the locations of satellite hospitals and assess their impact on patients’ commutes. Patients diagnosed with HNC were identified from our hospital's database between December 2019 and January 2022. Using Python, commuting distances from patients’ postcodes to our tertiary referral hospital were calculated. These commutes incorporated routes along defined roads, traffic data, and were calculated using public and private transport. Patient commutes from their postcodes to four satellite hospitals were also calculated. We identified their closest hospital and compared that journey to the patients’ journey to our tertiary centre. We included 709 patients in our analysis. Patients would have a significantly shorter journey distance and time in both public and private transport if satellite hospitals were used for appointments alongside our tertiary centre. Average travel times would reduce by 10 minutes in private and 25 minutes in public transport. Furthermore, 70% of patients required ≥2 forms of public transport to get to our hospital. This would drop to 44.1% of patients if satellite hospitals were included in our service. Our programme would allow the most accessible sites to be identified for establishing outreach clinics at appropriate satellite hospitals, therefore improving patient access to healthcare.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Goodfellow M, O'Hara J, Kennedy M, Adams J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Year: 2024

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 03/11/2023

Acceptance date: 26/10/2023

ISSN (print): 0266-4356

ISSN (electronic): 1532-1940

Publisher: Churchill Livingstone


DOI: 10.1016/j.bjoms.2023.10.016

PubMed id: 38155067


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