Alaska Breast Cancer Screening Improvement – 4 years later
In the spring of 2018, the Alaska Quality Improvement Network (AQuIN)—part of the Alaska Primary Care Association (APCA) convened their first Data Summit, bringing together key health center personnel from across the state. At the Data Summit, breast cancer screening was identified as the first high-impact measure for improvement. Improving breast cancer screening had the potential to save lives, lower costs, and pilot methods for managing abnormal results.
Using the data analytics tools and patient registries available in Azara DRVS, AQuIN set out to improve breast cancer screening rates using a new data-driven model set forth at the Data Summit. Health centers identified patients due for a mammogram using the new patient registry. Once identified, health centers would outreach to patients to encourage screenings and follow-up on open mammogram referrals more effectively. The use of the Patient Visit Planning Report made the needed data available at the point of care for the care team. Dashboards were utilized to trend results across locations and care teams, allowing teams to evaluate the impact of the new workflows.
Within 9 months of changing workflows and using DRVS to support breast cancer screening workflows, four health centers improved their breast cancer screening rates from 30% to 49% for patients age 50-74 years old. This improvement realized a potential of $5.3 million dollars of breast cancer treatment savings to the Alaska health system. 2021 screening rates for the four centers were at 50% and continue to trend upward toward 54% for 2022.
This improvement realized a potential of $5.3 million dollars of breast cancer treatment savings to the Alaska health system.
Despite the pandemic, when preventive screening rates dropped significantly, the centers held steady and continue to trend upward, with all four centers above the national 2021 UDS national data screening rate of 46%.
The APCA continues to add additional participating health centers to Azara DRVS, and Alaska's breast cancer screening rates continue to improve. By the end of 2021, breast cancer screening rates among all Alaska health centers using DRVS was at 48.9%.