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Five hot topics when managing lung screening program data

From the November 2018 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

By Nancy DeSando and Susan Phelan

Implementing a low-dose lung cancer screening (LCS) program can be a major endeavor.
From developing a workflow process, to educating referring physicians, to promoting and attracting screening candidates, a successful LCS program implementation is like a journey and it requires an effective data management strategy.

If you’ve already embarked on a low-dose LCS program, you may have encountered some of these data management hot topics:
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1. You use spreadsheets to manage screening data
It might be a quick fix for getting started, but managing screening data in spreadsheet tools such as Microsoft Excel proves difficult and frustrating when assigning codes for even the simplest data, such as gender, or cross-referencing numbers. Any cost savings from using an existing tool are drained by the time required to enter coded data in a sheet, create a flat file, and upload to the American College of Radiology (ACR) for reimbursement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Another cause for concern regarding spreadsheet submission is the potential for missed data. Often, missing data elements are not identified until after a file is sent to the ACR Registry.

Using a data management tool with an intuitive entry workflow can help to avoid missed data. The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Registry site lists the certified software partners with solutions for managing screening data for proper reimbursement and the ability to electronically upload screening data to the ACR in a simple step.

2. You gather and enter screening data by accessing various systems/databases
Are you spending hours copying data from various workstations and databases and pasting it into your spreadsheets?

Utilizing Health Level 7 (HL7) interfacing from your Health Information System (HIS)/Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Radiology Information System (RIS) can help capitalize on sending the required elements to your screening data management tool. This can save time if the defined data are available within your network. The pre-population of patient data into the tool can enhance your process workflow and reduce the manual effort needed to capture the required patient data. The workflow process should be defined, and all locations educated to ensure consistency.

Also, consider acquiring a screening data management tool to ensure data completeness, consistency, and accuracy. The use of a screening data management tool can also help to avoid the risks of missing information and the necessity to resubmit screening data, and optional elements such as incidental findings found through the screening process can be efficiently documented for communication to the ACR.

Furthermore, when screening data are gathered locally across multiple screening locations in your network, it may be difficult to centralize the data efficiently.
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