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Top 10 Suggestions for Improving Cancer Screening

“New Year – A new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story ? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.” ― Alex Moritt

My colleague, Dr. Barb Teal, recently asked me, “How can I improve my cancer screening? Any tips for my office staff?”

I find there really is no one foolproof answer to that. It takes consistent attention to entering correct information in your EMR; trying to offer screening to every single patient that comes in; and calling patients who are overdue.

Here are my TOP TEN suggestions.

  1. Make sure your EMR is accurate regarding who is due and who is excluded so you can easily see this during an office visit and also create lists. It’s easy to write this but harder to do. See my next blog post for more on this!
  2. No one leaves an office appointment without a reminder for cancer screening. Decide who does this – reception, R(P)N, MD?
  3. In the early New Year, hire a staff member to call patients in the evening who are overdue. (Or, if you have electronic communication, send a text or email).
  4. Use the Screening Activity Report as a backup to your own records to ensure you catch all the tests done on your patients. Especially use the triple red section since one phone call could lead to three screens.
  5. Use Q codes to track who does not need routine screening ( ie. hysterectomies, breast cancer, colonoscopies, colposcopy.) Remember to remove them when calculating your bonus.
  6. Keep reading my blog. I post everything that I would find helpful in my own office.
  7. Send a staff member to one of our upcoming Cancer Screening Workshops. The next ones are March 1 in Niagara and April 19 (tentatively) in Hamilton.
  8. Have cancer screening in the portfolio of responsibilities for one staff member.
  9. Enable that staff member to join our ‘Circle of Champions’. We will meet regularly on an informal basis –to share tips and tricks and have fun.
  10. Look over CCO’s e-learning modules. No matter what EMR you have, the flowsheets take you through the many steps to make your EMR and office flow work for screening. See blog post dated Oct. 10.