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Achieving consensus

Standardising the use of fluorescence cytoscopy

Published: 10 Jul 2010

A series of hands in the thumbs up pose

Client: GE Healthcare

Agency: Succinct Healthcare Communications

Campaign: Standardising diagnostic techniques

Timescale: March 2009 to present

A quick look

Over the past 18 months, Succinct Healthcare Communications, GE Healthcare and eminent European healthcare professionals have been collaborating in a medical education campaign aimed at standardising the use of a diagnostic technique. Their joint aim: to facilitate uniform use of fluorescence cystoscopy in the diagnosis and follow up of bladder cancer, with the ultimate goal of improved care and better outcomes for patients. The campaign began with publication of European recommendations in a peer review journal. From there, momentum gathered fast. Congress symposia, secondary publications in local-language journals, sales-team related activities and peer-to-peer communication have all been employed to optimise dissemination of the key messages to the target audience and change clinical practice.

Challenge

Despite widespread acceptance of the evidence for Hexvix-guided fluorescence cystoscopy in the diagnosis and follow up of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and endorsement in various national and regional guidelines, no detailed guidance at a European level from the relevant surgical association was available. Although used across Europe, its application therefore differs both across countries and between centres, resulting in haphazard patient access. With experts agreeing that appropriate use of the technique brings benefits to patients, and also to the healthcare economy, it was time to try to standardise use.

Solution

An expert panel of urologists from 10 European countries was convened for one day in 2009, to review the evidence base (identified via a PubMed MeSH search) and the relevant national recommendations available across Europe in order to define, through discussion, the clinical scenarios for Hexvix-guided fluorescence cystoscopy as an adjunct to white-light cystoscopy in NMIBC.

Results

The recommendations made by the European panel have been published in the well-respected, peer-review journal European Urology. A UK-specific consensus statement – drawn up following the same process as the European paper – has also been published and a Nordic-specific statement is planned. To optimise dissemination of the European and UK recommendations, secondary publications have been submitted to local-language journals across the continent and congress activities in the form of symposia are being undertaken, in the first instance at the 2010 European Association of Urology annual congress.

The GE Healthcare sales team will also help spread the word, armed with a ‘Meeting in a Box’, comprising a presentation and workshop materials to facilitate discussion of the recommendations and local protocol development. Peer-to-peer communication is also key. The lead author of the European statement, Fred Witjes, notes “We hope that our statement will lead to improved care and better outcomes for patients, through more complete resection of tumours and improved follow up.”

Client verdict

“I believe that this publication, and its successful translation into action and local protocols through various tools, will be key to increasing the usage of Hexvix in existing centres, and will lead to widespread adoption of the technique across Europe.”

Samantha Widdicombe, Senior European Brand Manager, GE Healthcare 

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