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A taxonomy of early diagnosis research to guide study design and funding prioritisation

Whitfield, Emma; White, Becky; Denaxas, Spiros; Barclay, Matthew E; Renzi, Cristina; Lyratzopoulos, Georgios; (2023) A taxonomy of early diagnosis research to guide study design and funding prioritisation. British Journal of Cancer (BJC) 10.1038/s41416-023-02450-4. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Researchers and research funders aiming to improve diagnosis seek to identify if, when, where, and how earlier diagnosis is possible. This has led to the propagation of research studies using a wide range of methodologies and data sources to explore diagnostic processes. Many such studies use electronic health record data and focus on cancer diagnosis. Based on this literature, we propose a taxonomy to guide the design and support the synthesis of early diagnosis research, focusing on five key questions: Do healthcare use patterns suggest earlier diagnosis could be possible? How does the diagnostic process begin? How do patients progress from presentation to diagnosis? How long does the diagnostic process take? Could anything have been done differently to reach the correct diagnosis sooner? We define families of diagnostic research study designs addressing each of these questions and appraise their unique or complementary contributions and limitations. We identify three further questions on relationships between the families and their relevance for examining patient group inequalities, supported with examples from the cancer literature. Although exemplified through cancer as a disease model, we recognise the framework is also applicable to non-neoplastic disease. The proposed framework can guide future study design and research funding prioritisation.

Type: Article
Title: A taxonomy of early diagnosis research to guide study design and funding prioritisation
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41416-023-02450-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-023-02450-4
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10178411
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