Beyond October: How to Scale Breast Center Services to High-Risk Patients All Year Long

Nov 8, 2023

When the pink's packed away, and screening isn't top of mind come November, many of the women who have flocked to their local breast centers to get an annual mammogram don't think about cancer prevention again until next year. But what about high-risk patients who need more than an annual screening?

Leah Marcantel, RN, and her team at Christus Ochsner Health in Southwestern Louisiana have leveraged CancerIQ to increase access to personalized screening protocols that ensure high-risk patients receive the care they need through a dedicated program. This has the breast center improve clinical and financial outcomes and maintain consistent patient volumes throughout the year.

“After 20 years of oncology nursing, I was asked to be part of increasing access to genetic testing in our breast center,” Marcantel said. “I saw that providers needed a safety net to help their patients prevent breast cancer, including tools to personalize risk, manage care, and take care of patients in the long term. Ultimately, I want to improve health literacy in my community by creating opportunities for patient education during regular care.”

Recognizing the demand for a high-risk breast program, Christus looked for ways to improve efficiency and create additional bandwidth for its clinicians to dedicate time to working with high-risk patients. CancerIQ's tools for streamlining documentation and provider communication have been instrumental in achieving these goals.

"In the early days of our program, patients filled out a paper-based questionnaire to assess their hereditary cancer risk. If they met the criteria, techs would connect them with genetic counselors after their mammogram. Even if they didn't meet the criteria, patients still needed to meet with me, and techs had to manually calculate Tyrer-Cuzick scores, which was time-consuming. I was using an Excel spreadsheet to track high-risk management for the 40-50 women screened daily," Marcantel said.

Within five months of implementing CancerIQ Manager, Christus Health improved the ability to track care plan changes based on genetic testing results and completed 310 breast MRIs for high-risk, mutation-positive and high-risk negative patients. CancerIQ's software, support, and updates played a vital role in maintaining an efficient process throughout the year. With CancerIQ, the Christus team now efficiently assesses cancer risk, streamlines genetic specialist workflows, and guides patients to recommended care plans.

“Patients are very receptive to completing the assessment because it helps us provide personalized cancer screening based on each patient's specific needs. Leadership values CancerIQ because of the efficiency it adds to providing high-quality care in our screening centers. This helps to set us apart from other centers in our area. Cutting down on manual outcomes tracking and financial attribution saves so much time that can then be used to provide better patient care,” Marcantel said.

Leah Marcantel, RN
Nurse Navigator OCN CN-BN CGRA
Christus Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana

With the right tools and strategies, providers can proactively combat breast cancer throughout the year, differentiating their breast center or high-risk breast clinic as a year-round community resource.

Watch our full webinar on scaling services high-risk breast patients year-round or connect with us to get started.



Topics: Breast Centers