IHE News

IHE releases scan of initiatives to improve cancer diagnosis timeliness

The IHE releases the report Initiatives to accelerate the diagnostic phase of cancer care: An environmental scan, supported by a financial contribution from Alberta Health Services.

The early detection of cancer, in the early stages of the disease, has been associated with improved effectiveness of available treatment options and improved patient outcomes, including increased patient survival,1 increased post-treatment quality of life,2,3 and reduced patient distress during the diagnostic phase.3 Diagnosing cancer itself, however, can be a complicated and lengthy process. It requires complex coordination of care and effective communication between a range of care providers working across multiple areas of the healthcare system.

With an interest in addressing this issue, the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Cancer Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) is seeking to reorganize health systems, structures, and services to accelerate care during the diagnostic phase. The IHE was commissioned by the Cancer SCN to conduct an environmental scan (a literature review with key informant surveys and interviews), summarizing existing system-level interventions, referred to as facilitated cancer diagnosis initiatives, that aim to improve the timeliness of cancer diagnosis by integrating and coordinating healthcare pathways for patients. Our report provides a summary of existing facilitated cancer diagnosis initiatives in Alberta, the rest of Canada, and comparable international jurisdictions to identify what we can learn from the implementation of these initiatives for the Alberta context.

To see the results of the environmental scan, please see the full report, available now at: www.ihe.ca/advanced-search/initiatives-to-accelerate-the-diagnostic-phase-of-cancer-care-an-environmental-scan.

The IHE is an independent, not-for-profit organization that performs excellence in health economics research and health technology assessment. Our core objectives include: supporting decision-making in health policy and practice with evidence from research in health economics and health technology assessment; assessing the medical, economic, social, and ethical implications of both established and new health practices, procedures, and technologies; and facilitating discussions and partnerships among government, academia, industry, and healthcare providers to address important issues in health care. Visit us at www.ihe.ca to learn more.


Jasmine Brown
Director of Communications, Institute of Health Economics
Direct: (780) 401-1768 | Cell: (780) 966-4879


  1. Maringe C, Walters S, Rachet B, Butler J, Fields T, Finan P, et al. Stage at diagnosis and colorectal cancer survival in six high-income countries: A population-based study of patients diagnosed during 2000-2007. Acta Oncol 2013;52(5):919-32.
  2. Young SM, Bansal P, Vella ET, Finelli A, Levitt C, Loblaw A. Systematic review of clinical features of suspected prostate cancer in primary care. Can Fam Physician 2015;61(1):e26-35.
  3. Brousselle A, Breton M, Benhadj L, Tremblay D, Provost S, Roberge D, et al. Explaining time elapsed prior to cancer diagnosis: Patients' perspectives. BMC Health Serv Res 2017;17(1):448.