Aurora Sinai Medical Center

Center for Urban Population Health

Presentation Notes

Poster presented at: Aurora Scientific Day; May 20, 2020; virtual webinar hosted in Milwaukee, WI.


Background: Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American women, accounting for 7% of all cancer deaths each year. Fortunately, when detected early with regular screening mammograms, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer approaches 99%. Resident clinics such as ours that serve an underserved urban population bear the brunt of this challenge.

Purpose: To improve the completion percentage of screening mammograms in our underserved urban community from 73% to 80%. We looked to see if primary care providers and clinic staff could utilize the methods as described herein as effective ways to improve breast cancer screening rates in our community.

Methods: We sought to achieve this goal by reviewing our patient’s records to find individuals with a care gap specifically regarding annual breast cancer screening. Once identified, we would personally telephone eligible patients once per week to discuss their breast cancer screening status, explain the risks and benefits of screening mammograms, and encourage them to perform appropriate testing. If they were agreeable, patients were provided a phone number to call and schedule their mammogram. Additional phone calls and mail reminders were sent to patients who agreed to complete mammograms as a way to follow up and encourage timely completion of the screening test.

Results: The initial 6-month data indicated a change in our breast cancer screening completion percentage from 73% to 77%. Just 1 phone call per provider per week led to a 4% improvement in our breast cancer screening completion rate. This outcome is preliminary, and we are aiming for more significant improvement in the following months.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that identifying and contacting patients who are overdue on their preventive health measures, specifically screening mammograms, can have a measurable impact. While the COVID-19 pandemic did affect our abilities to reach our original goal, the results thus far are promising and suggest that with continued effort our 80% goal is reachable.

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