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Can mammo exams on hospitalized patients help address low screening rates?

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | July 13, 2021
Women's Health
From the July 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: Are there other types of screening that you feel could be implemented into this model of preventive care?
AH: In terms of cancer screening, colon cancer screening using stool-based tests (e.g., Fecal Immunochemical test and Stool DNA test) could be feasible in the inpatient setting since it's noninvasive and would not be too cumbersome for the patient/hospital staff to collect the sample.

HCB News: If these strategies were implemented on a wide, permanent scale, how do you imagine it would impact population health across the country?
AH: These strategies could help reduce long-standing disparities in ambulatory quality outcomes, especially if implemented with a focus on reaching vulnerable patient populations. By breaking down barriers between and acute and preventive care, we could make healthcare more patient-centered and convenient.

HCB News: What do you imagine are some of the key hurdles that stand in the way of combining screening with other inpatient treatments?
AH: One concern from the hospital perspective would be the financial implications of offering additional testing that is not related to the reason for hospitalization. From a health equity standpoint, however, it's important that we commit resources to make care as convenient and accessible as possible for our underserved patients. Also, as our healthcare system transitions from fee-for-service to value-based payment models, improving population health outcomes among underserved patient populations will be increasingly important financially as well.

Another challenge might be inpatient providers being hesitant to order these screening tests if they are worried about patients not getting the appropriate outpatient follow up. Therefore, a robust system must be in place to ensure close follow-up for any abnormal results.

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