More than one third of patients seeking urgent hospital treatment in Scotland do so because of breathing
difficulties. Research tends to focus on diseases (e.g. asthma) rather than symptoms like breathlessness.
The patient journey across different parts of the health service has not been well studied.
In this project, we will study patients that attended the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh’s Emergency Department
with breathlessness and investigate what happened next. We will look to better understand the patterns of
referrals, tests, appointments, and other outcomes that follow a hospital attendance. We will try to
understand the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on this group of patients. Our analysis will use techniques
that help predict how likely it is that a patient will follow a particular treatment pathway. The purpose of this
work is to guide improvements in these pathways in the future, for example by reducing unnecessary delays
to treatment or testing.