Seattle-based system recognized for work to increase colorectal cancer screening rates.
The American Cancer Society recently recognized the Veterans Affairs of Puget Sound Health Systems (Seattle, WA) with the 2022 Health System – Patient Support Team of the Year Award (small/midsize category). As part of a national effort to improve screening rates, ACS provided grant funding to health system partners to implement quality improvement strategies and evidence-based interventions to rapidly increase cancer screening rates and reduce screening barriers exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Washington State 2021 Return to Screening Learning Collaborative, the VA focused on increased colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates in high-risk patients. The initiative brought the cancer center and primary care departments together to identify veterans past due on their CRC screenings, marking the first time the two departments had worked on a project jointly. A patient navigator was also hired and trained to focus on calling high-risk veteran patients overdue on their CRC screening.
The initiative measured the impact of cold contacts (mailed education brochures) compared to warm, direct contacts (direct calls) and in a seven-month period, the VA reported a 22% increase in their colorectal cancer screenings rates. Through the project, the VA identified 20% of FIT kit positive high-risk patients had no follow up colonoscopy consult orders, and another 15% of FIT kit positive high-risk patients missed scheduling efforts. The VA planned to review the process at a 3 and 6-month interval following the project. A summary of the pilot project, including the pilot data outcomes, along with cost analysis is being used to build a proposal to support and strengthen the need for a permanent Patient Navigator position. ACS was excited to partner for the first time with the VA Puget Sound around the Return to Screening Project and looks forward to future collaborative work!
The Health System - Patient Support Team of the Year Award recognizes a health systems partner that has made astounding achievements in improving the lives of cancer patients and their families. Awardees provide exemplary healthcare to their patients in alignment with the American Cancer Society mission.