How Software Helps Your High-Risk Breast Program Increase Enrollment

Oct 2, 2019

Doctors looking together at tablet in medical office

In part one of our three-part webinar series, we explored the enormous value proposition that cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, and genetic testing present to health systems. Now, we highlight how one high-risk program increased enrollment into its high-risk breast services.

Specifically, we will cover how a Renton, Washington-based high-risk program, embedded in a busy breast center, was able to:

  1. Flag the appropriate high-risk patients and generate more referrals to genetics;
  2. Scale genetic counseling services; and
  3. Manage patients over time and prove the value of their high-risk program.

Flagging High-Risk Patients and Generating Referrals to Genetics

The Renton, Washington-based genetics and oncology practice is located in the breast center. With a high volume of patients flowing through, the center's clinical workflow was busy. As such, they faced three key challenges to identifying all high-risk patients and generating a referral over to genetic services:

  1. A large amount of patient information was collected on paper forms, making it difficult for staff to process the information and decide next steps for the patient in a timely manner.
  2. The paper questionnaire was complex and cumbersome. Patients had trouble filling out “multi-segmented” questions, and the techs had to evaluate paper forms based on an ever- changing set of guidelines.
  3. The center’s genetic services operated below service capacity, because no formal process was in place to bring screened high-risk patients through to counseling consistently.

To overcome these challenges, the breast center replaced its paper process with a digital risk assessment tool. The center now has an automated and systematic screening process that identifies all patients according to the latest National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines. The software also provides a patient-friendly family history questionnaire - removing multi-segmented questions - which can help improve the accuracy of the patient's data entry.

Related article: Providers: 3 Ways to Take Your Risk Assessment Program From Good to Great

Scaling Genetic Counseling Services

The digital risk assessment tool helped flag more of the right high-risk patients, which also helped generate stronger referrals to genetics. As a result, the center's genetic specialists were receiving 4x more appropriate referrals than before within the first three months of the program. Thanks to implementing the genetics specialty software, the genetics and oncology practice located within the breast center could scale its genetic counseling service capacity and meet the demand in patient volume.

Specifically, by implementing genetics specialty software, the genetic specialists were able to:

  1. Proactively reach out to patients to complete the family history questionnaire (FHQ) prior to a visit. Via emailing and automated reminders, the patient gets prompted to complete the FHQ in the weeks and days leading up to their appointment.
  2. Make appointments more patient-centered and more meaningful. The genetic specialists could review family history with the patient instead of collecting information during the appointment; the pedigree was automatically generated as opposed to drawing by hand and from scratch; and the specialists were better prepared for their appointments, which the high-risk program found created stronger engagement with the patient.
  3. Save significant time after the appointment. By leveraging pre-populated test requisition forms (TRF) and pre-authorization insurance forms, the genetic specialists cut down the time they spent manually filling out cumbersome admin work.

Managing High-Risk Patients Over Time, Proving the Value of Your High-Risk Program

Prior to implementing software into the clinical workflow, the high-risk program faced challenges in managing their patients over time and proving the value of their program. Now, there are key transformational changes:

  • With a patient management portal, the high-risk program can track patients over time and ensure adherence to changes in medical management when, for instance, the patient was recommend for MRI surveillance. (Without any software solution, tracking patients was a manual, time-consuming process typically done in a spreadsheet.)
  • With metrics-driven reporting, the high-risk program can monitor the performance of their mammography technicians to see the effectiveness of each tech in communicating to patients about genetic counseling and genetic testing. From there, program administration can provide additional coaching to techs to help improve their performance.
  • With a breakdown of medical management changes provided through the software, the high-risk program can demonstrate the clinical impact their program has on patient lives, but also highlight the potential downstream revenue generated from additional services like increased surveillance or prophylactic surgeries. 

Learn More

Interested in hearing more about how to increase your enrollment into your high-risk services? We covered this topic in part two of our webinar series. Download the recording to learn more.

Download The Recording

Topics: Best Practices| High-Risk Patients| Breast Centers