Screening is the process of looking for cancer in people who have no symptoms of the disease. As a clinician, you know the importance of screenings in preventing cancer and finding it early. Encouraging patients to be screened, however, can be a challenge. That’s why it’s important to have a screening policy that engages staff in the process of offering screenings and delivering reminders at opportunistic times. With this information, your practice and office will be prepared for future screenings.
Develop a Provider Reminder System
For detailed information, see the Provider Reminder Planning Guide.
- Create a process to ensure that:
- Records are flagged properly.
- Providers recommend appropriate screenings.
- Screening tests are ordered.
- Screening is completed or refused.
- Refusal or results are documented.
- Decide which records will be flagged by looking at:
- The patient’s age, sex, and risk factors.
- The patient’s date of last screening and upcoming appointments.
- The type of test.
Monitor your efforts:
- Develop a plan to evaluate your system regularly and make improvements as needed.
- Make sure providers receive the reminders.
- Make sure providers are making screening referrals or ordering tests.
- If you make changes, write them down and retrain staff as needed.
Create a Standardized Course of Action for Screening
Document it and share it with everyone in your practice. Compile a list of screening resources and determine the screening capacity available in your community.
Consider the following when developing your screening policy:
- National screening guidelines.
- Realities of your practice.
- Patient history and risk level.
- Patient preferences and insurance coverage.
- Local medical resources.
As part of a high-quality screening program for your practice, develop a policy for distribution, tracking, and follow-up of annual take-home stool blood tests (FOBT/FIT). Remember that performing an in-office digital rectal exam or a single stool blood test is not evidence-based and should not be used for colorectal cancer screening. Take steps to identify and screen every age-appropriate patient.
Actions Related to Your Patients
For patients, the most effective cues to action are those delivered actively through dialogue with a health care provider, initially in person, and subsequently through follow-up by telephone. Educate patients and help them take the necessary next steps before and after they leave your office to increase the likelihood that they will obtain screening.
Text Reminder (SMS)
Send text reminders to your customers! They will never again miss an appointment with you. Text messages are the simplest and easiest way for your customers to receive an appointment reminder. You can completely customize your text message and content. In addition, you can allow your customers to confirm or text back a custom reply. This can be viewed in real-time through our customer portal.
Utilize call reminders when your text message reminders fail (roll over automatically and with no additional charge), or when you have more information to relay to your customers than will fit in a text reminder. Depending on your business and customers’ needs, a phone call reminder may be a better choice. We also allow you to send call reminders from your verified office Caller ID.
Add your logo, branding colors, company name and number, and other custom fields to your email reminders. Allow your customers to confirm appointments by pressing buttons in your email. Our emails are readable in most email programs and configured to avoid spam filters.