FeNO testing is a simple, non-invasive test to measure the amount of nitric oxide in an exhaled breath – a biomarker for airway inflammation.
FeNO testing can improve patient care by contributing to a faster and more effective asthma diagnosis when used alongside a detailed clinical history and other tests. It can also be used to monitor patient response to asthma treatments.
In 2020, it was noted that FeNO testing had lower-than-expected patient access, presenting an opportunity to improve uptake and support the NHS Long Term Plan ambition of improving early and accurate diagnosis of respiratory conditions by embedding FeNO testing in primary care.
What we did
The programme focused on collaboration at a national, regional and local level across healthcare systems, industry partners, patients, and the community and voluntary sector to integrate FeNO testing into everyday clinical practice.
We worked within our local systems across the North East and North Cumbria to support asthma pathway improvements by taking a pathway-based transformation approach. We provided clinical and transformation leadership, shared best practice and developed education and implementation materials for those involved in providing asthma care.
A package of educational resources to support FeNO implementation, including information documents, podcasts, posters, learning modules and webinars, was created to support clinicians. The toolkits were designed in a practical way to support teams adopting and sustaining the use of FeNO.
The programme aimed to improve patient care and outcomes through enhanced access to diagnostics and treatments for severe asthma.
A total of 20 FeNO testing devices were secured and shared across 10 sites in the North East and North Cumbria. The sites were spread over the following three lead organisations:
- North Cumbria CCG
- Durham Dales PCN
- County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
During the two-year programme in the region:
- An estimated 1,112 additional patients benefited from diagnostic FeNO testing.
- 10 Pathway Transformation Fund projects were completed to support wider adoption of FeNO.
- 67 people attended webinars and learning collaboratives related to FeNO.
- Over 3,000 tests per month were administered.
To find out more visit: www.ahsn-nenc.org.uk/what-we-do/improving-population-health/respiratory/the-feno-programme/