The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant drop in cancer screening, largely due to elective medical procedures being placed on hold at the beginning of the crisis. One study published this spring found that, in addition to the drop in new screenings, a larger number of suspicious lung nodules were identified among patients once regular care patterns resumed.
To address that decline, PatientPoint has partnered with the American Cancer Society on a new point-of-care education campaign. The effort will involve channeling content to some 100,000 HCPs across 25,000 offices in the U.S. It will also promote the Society’s “Get Screened” campaign, which emphasizes the importance of regular cancer screenings and delineates the types of necessary screenings based on the individual’s age.
“Prevention and early detection of cancer through screening reduces mortality from cancers of the colon and rectum, breast, cervix, prostate and lung,” said Laura Makaroff, SVP of prevention and early detection at ACS, in response to emailed questions. “Delayed or missed screening can result in later stages of cancer diagnosis and poorer outcomes for all patients, but these delays may be especially impactful for those at higher risk for disease who require earlier or more frequent screening.”
For in-office visits, PatientPoint will support the campaign via its Wait-Time and Interact Exam Room platforms. For telehealth engagements, the company will distribute content through its virtual waiting rooms.
Makaroff said the campaign should help address some of the barriers to screening, which often disproportionately impact marginalized populations. “There are many challenges and barriers to cancer screening, including procrastination, fear and financial barriers such as lack of insurance,” she explained. “Addressing these barriers through trusted information and messages, along with access to free and low-cost screening, is part of helping more people get screened.”
The PatientPoint and ACS partnership will likely outlast the current collaboration, possibly to include a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Ultimately, Makaroff hopes that the initiative will prove a powerful motivator for timely screenings.
“Cancer screening should be a regular part of your life,” she said. “Screening tests are used before a person has any symptoms to help find cancer early, when it may be easier to treat.”