“Magee General Hospital Meaningfully Using Health IT and Community Outreach to Prevent Breast Cancer in Their Rural Community”
In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HRSA’s Health IT website is highlighting the great work of Magee General Hospital (MGH). This rural hospital’s breast cancer preventive services program utilizes health IT and innovative outreach strategies to improve health care quality and coordinate patient care. MGH’s breast cancer prevention program was made possible through a 2009 Rural Healthcare Outreach Grant from the Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP). ORHP’s grant allowed MGH to purchase new mammogram equipment, distribute breast cancer education materials, and fund mammograms for uninsured women. When a patient comes to MGH for breast cancer services , her tests, follow- up care, and all referrals are tracked through MGH’s new electronic medical record (EMR) system. As a result, MGH’s breast cancer preventive program has a tremendous impact on its rural community and has resulted in saving the lives of many women.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in 2011 there were 230,480 new cases of female breast cancer diagnoses and 39,520 deaths from breast cancer. Women in rural environments are especially challenged with seeking timely breast cancer preventive care. Some reasons for this include:
According to the Rural Assistance Center, a rural patient’s lack of access to cancer preventive services results in later stage cancer diagnoses, causing higher cancer mortality rates among rural residents.
MGH is 64-bed rural hospital founded over 70 years ago in Southcentral Mississippi. MGH offers state-of-the-art technology and comprehensive medical care ranging from prenatal through elder care services to a six county service area.
Upon receiving their ORHP grant, MGH built a breast cancer prevention program that combines innovative outreach to the community and the use of health IT for the coordination of preventive services and follow up care. These aspects are important for overcoming the barriers that rural patients endure in accessing high quality breast cancer preventive services and follow up care. From the beginning MGH set high goals for this program including:
Through tracking these goals, MGH was able to measure their success and identify opportunities for improvement.
Innovative Outreach to the Community Through Faith Based Organizations
MGH worked with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to secure breast cancer education materials tailored for their rural and minority patients. In addition, MGH anticipated the need to establish innovative partnerships to help target at risk patients in the community. According to MGH’s Grant Administrator, Ms. Cindy Watkins:
“Statistics show that 1 in 8 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis. According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, mortality rates after a breast cancer diagnosis are higher for minority women because of late stage diagnosis. Studies have shown that barriers to access to quality care are largely responsible for this rate. Our program seeks to reach those women and get them screened as early as possible.”
MGH formed partnerships with the community’s minority churches to help facilitate breast cancer education seminars for church members of all ages. In these seminars, MGH staff worked with clergy to provide the following breast cancer preventive services:
Ms. Watkins states that “these seminars have been highly effective in educating ladies within these minority churches on the importance of breast cancer prevention and awareness.” Since breast cancer can be a taboo subject in rural and minority communities, MGH knew partnering with the churches in the community was important for patients to receive this information in an environment where they felt safe.
|Diane Myers, Mammographer, using breast models and explaining breast self-exams to Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar attendees.|
MGH’s Digital Mammogram Machines
MGH’s grant from ORHP also enabled the purchase of a new digital mammography machine, which allow clinicians to take digital, high resolution x-rays that help detect cancer early. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that women age 50 or older should have mammograms every 2 years. MGH’s free mammograms have been critical for expanding access of these preventive tests among the uninsured and minorities within their community and have detected many early cases of breast cancer.
Meaningfully Using Electronic Medical Records for Care Coordination and Improving Quality
Once a patient comes to MGH for breast cancer preventive care services, her information is entered into MGH’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system which helps the hospital coordinate care throughout its facility. MGH recently qualified for Meaningful Use Stage 1 of Center’s for Medicare and Medicaid’s Electronic Health Records Incentive Program.
Two objectives of meeting Meaningful Use Stage 1 include: Computerized order entry system (CPOE) and providing patients a digital copy of their discharge information. These two Meaningful Use Stage 1 objectives have complemented MGH’s breast cancer prevention program. For example, when a person needs a mammogram or other tests at MGH, MGH staff places the order into the EMR’s CPOE system and the test results are then stored within the patient’s EMR. The radiologist can read the mammogram from the EMR. In addition, if follow up care occurs outside of MGH, the patient digitally receives her test results on a USB drive, email, or CD-ROM. In providing a digital copy of the patient’s test results, the patient’s next provider will have accurate and high quality information for treating the patient.
MGH’s Breast Cancer Prevention program is in now in its third year and continues to improve their program.
|Program Time Frame||Free Mammograms Provided||Materials Distributed|
|Year 1 (November 17, 2009-April 2010)||84||1,431|
|Year 2 (May 1, 2010-April 30, 2011)||167||3,823|
|Year 3 (May 1, 2011-April 30, 2012)||57||2,160|
For more information on Magee General Hospital’s Breast Cancer Prevention Program, please contact Ms. Cindy Watkins, the Grant Administrator at email@example.com