Initiatives to reduce the waiting time to initiate oncological treatment: a scoping literature review

Da Silva and Araujo


To identify the managerial actions proposed and employed to reduce the waiting time to initiate oncological treatments in the public health system and its application in Latin America.


We searched seven databases in December 2020. Search terms were conceptualized into three groups: waiting time, cancer, and terms related to public sector. The eligibility criteria included theoretical or empirical academic articles written in English, Spanish, or Portuguese, that focused on managerial solutions to face oncological healthcare queues' dilemma.


The search returned 1 255 articles, and 20 were selected and analysed in this review. Results show that most of the proposals are related to the process and people dimensions. The actions related to the process dimension were mainly associated with programming new treatment pathways and integrating cancer systems. People's dimension initiatives referred mostly to task forces and groups of specialists. Some initiatives were related to implementing technological solutions and the technology dimension, mainly concerning radiotherapy devices' acquisition.


Few studies focus on analysing actions to minimize waiting time to initiate oncological treatments. The prevalence of conceptual and illustrative case studies indicates the lack of research maturity on this theme. Future studies should focus on setting the field's theoretical foundations, considering the existing paradigms, or developing new ones. There is a need for empirical studies applying a multidisciplinary approach to face the oncological treatment waiting time challenge and proposing new and innovative initiatives.

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