Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board (ICB) is collaborating with Lenus Health to digitally transform Leicester and Hinckley Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs)’s breathlessness diagnostic pathway.

Configuration of the Lenus Diagnose product started at Leicester CDC in April 2024 and is planned to go live by September 2024. It will go live at Hinckley CDC when the site opens in 2025.

The two CDCs, run by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, will integrate patients’ test results into the pathway aligning with the GP Direct Access guidelines.

Breathlessness affects around 10% of the UK population and is often complex to diagnose, resulting in long delays to treatment for patients.

The implementation of the Lenus digital pathway tool is aimed to speed up diagnosis by combining triage, parallel testing and a streamlined, integrated and structured approach to diagnosis data capture, meaning patients can receive earlier treatment via the CDCs rather than having to attend hospital.

Commenting on the project, Dr Louise Ryan, GP and clinical lead for respiratory illness at Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland ICB, said: “Breathing difficulties affect many patients in our local area and this initiative will help us, in many cases, to diagnose the underlying cause in GP practices, without having to refer patients to secondary care”.

Dr Rachael Evans, respiratory consultant physician and clinical lead for the existing breathlessness pathway at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said that trust’s research showed that “delays to diagnosis are associated with worse patient outcomes and hospital admissions, and that earlier parallel testing can help”.

“This project has the potential to improve the local situation by effective implementation of the diagnostic breathlessness pathway through the CDC and Lenus software enabling remote earlier specialist input where needed,” Dr Evans added.

Jim McNair, director of Lenus Health said: “Breathlessness diagnosis is complex and we are delighted to be working in partnership across Leicestershire healthcare providers to optimise activities and join up data to speed up diagnosis and time to treatment.

“This not only helps the patients themselves but reduces pressure at our hospital front doors because of undiagnosed and untreated disease.”

To compliment the implementation at Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland ICB, an InnovateUK-funded Accelerated Knowledge Transfer to Innovate(AKT2i) project, between the University of Leicester and Lenus Health, will help to generate evidence about the benefits of the roll-out.

In February this year, Lenus Health implemented the first in a series of its diagnostics products within CDCs, with a heart failure tool at Fleetwood Community Diagnostics Centre.