An introduction to the Scottish Capsule Programme (SCOTCAP)

4th February 2021

The Scottish Capsule Programme (SCOTCAP) is an integral part of the national redesign of outpatient gastroenterology services as it enables early and effective screening in the community, avoiding unnecessary referrals for hospital outpatient appointments.

SCOTCAP was endorsed by the Programme for Government 2018/19 and is a large scale evaluation project undertaken in NHS Highland, NHS Grampian and NHS Western Isles.

Summary

SCOTCAP Service Evaluation was embedded within the CCE service, rolled out across three Health Board Regions, and was a multi-centre service evaluation of patients (presenting with GI symptoms to their GP and patients waiting for colonoscopy).

The aim of the evaluation was to explore the efficiency, acceptability and effectiveness of a new Managed Service Delivery Model when deployed across three Health Board areas across the North of Scotland, and to generate recommendations for further adoption and scale up. The Evaluation Phase of the SCOTCAP project concluded in March 2020.

CCE is a procedure which involves swallowing a capsule the size of a vitamin Pill. The capsule contains a digital camera which is swallowed and, on its journey, takes up to 400,000 images (32 per second), which are remotely reviewed and analysed. It is highly accurate, with the potential to be cost effective, less invasive, and more acceptable to patients, than existing procedures. It is not currently routinely used in Scotland for large Bowel investigations and could potentially be a viable and safe alternative to traditional colonoscopy.

This is recognised to be an ambitious programme of work testing boundaries and exploring the acceleration of innovation in Scotland. Fundamental to the success of this work was to bring together like-minded innovation partners from across sectors to drive forward the testing and evaluation of an Innovative Service Model Using Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE) in a real-world setting.

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