In January 2018, Patient Cancer Screening Status Reports became available to health-care providers on Netcare, the electronic system that stores Albertans’ health information. These status reports, unique to Alberta, provide a snapshot of a patient’s cancer screening status for breast, colorectal or cervical cancer.
Developed by the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund in partnership with Cancer Screening Programs at Alberta Health Services, the Patient Cancer Screening Status Reports pull together some of the key information needed for family doctors to advise patients on cancer screening: whether or not a patient is up-to-date or due for screening and if any further diagnostic follow-up is required.
Previously, this information was time-consuming to track down and difficult to synthesize. Now, health-care providers save time and find their Patient Cancer Screening Status Reports in one place in seconds. And it means that patients in Alberta will be better served with appropriate and timely reminders for screening tests and follow-ups.
The Patient Cancer Screening Status Reports came about from the desire to help improve cancer screening rates in our province.
“In Alberta, cancer screening is still sub-optimal, and our screening participation rates have still not reached our program targets,” says Dr. Huiming Yang, medical director, screening programs, population, public and Indigenous health at Alberta Health Services. “We really want people in the right age groups to be screened regularly at certain intervals. Regular cancer screening is one of the most effective interventions for the prevention and early detection of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.”
Because the initiative is still new, the Cancer Screening Programs team is working on raising awareness that the tool is available. The team will continue to seek feedback. “It’s really a tool for primary care providers, so we really want to make sure it’s easy for them to use in patient care,” says Yang.