Identifying patients with hereditary cancer risk factors typically goes something like this: Hand patient a paper family history form at check-in, hand it off to the staff member who is rooming the patient, manually assess the patient’s risk, and then scan into the EMR.
The workflow is simple in nature, but is not optimized for success. Papers can pile up, patients can write in incorrect data and staff can run out of time. In the end, patient care suffers. Clinics across the country struggle to build a sustainable cancer risk assessment program by only using paper.
We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be so difficult.
Here are 3 signs you need a software solution for your cancer risk assessment program:
1. You have to constantly check the latest updates to guidelines
Using national guidelines, like the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), to identify patients eligible for genetic counseling and testing is considered a best practice. However, staying up to date with these complex guidelines can be difficult for busy clinics, especially when guidelines change two to three times a year.
If you’re utilizing a paper-based process in your cancer risk assessment program, someone may be hand-grading family history forms to determine whether the patient meets criteria. Depending on the site, this could happen during the appointment (which slows down the workflow) or after (which puts more work on staff). This process is not only tedious but also highly subject to human error.
Patients could be slipping through the cracks.
To properly use national guidelines to assess risk, you first need to collect the right kind of family history information. A cancer risk assessment software can help you automate this process by providing an easy and user-friendly solution. With this information, the software should provide an immediate calculation of the patient’s risk using the recommended guidelines
Using a cloud software can provide an immense benefit in this situation. Unlike most EMRs that are server-based, cloud software can update immediately without any installation involved on your end. This means you always have peace of mind that you are using the most up to date guidelines available.
2. Your Staff is Feeling Overworked and Under Pressure
Staff involvement is critical to building a successful cancer risk assessment program and their workflow has to always be top of mind.
When there is pressure to keep patients moving through the appointment in a small amount of time, cancer risk assessment may be put on the back burner. Your staff needs a tool that takes the guesswork out of the calculating risk, and gives them confidence that they are flagging the right patients.
A good cancer risk assessment software will make it easy for staff to immediately know which patients are eligible for genetic counseling or testing. Rather than taking time to assess the patient’s family history according to the latest guidelines, they can keep the appointment moving.
Is your program is relying on a genetics-trained nurse navigator or radiologist to grade family history papers? With a cancer risk assessment software, you can virtually eliminate this task by making it easy for all staff to flag high-risk patients in real-time.
3. There is a High Number of Inappropriate Referrals to Genetics
If your organization is focused on population health, cancer risk assessment programs present an opportunity to improve early detection and prevention of cancer. However, to refer the right patients to genetics, it’s essential to have a screening process that is consistent across the organization.
If your genetic specialist is seeing a large number of patients who are not appropriate for a genetic counseling appointment, the problem may lie in your screening process and how patients are being identified. With manual, paper-based process, the patient’s risk could be highly subject to human interpretation and result in inconsistencies.
By using screening software, you can be confident that there is a standardized practice across your program to identifying patients who are most appropriate for genetics. As a result, the quality of genetics referrals will improve, and your genetics specialists can focus on patients who most need a change in medical management.
We’ve really just scratched the surface on how a software can help you streamline your efforts to identify patients with hereditary cancer risk factors. At CancerIQ, we’re determined to streamline cancer risk assessment with software that is easy and intuitive for everyone.
If you think your cancer risk assessment program could use some help, sign up for a free demo and let us show you everything CancerIQ has to offer.