Featured Practice: Cookeville Gynecology & Urogynecology– Increasing Mammography Screenings

This week’s featured story from the MidSouth PTN is Cookeville Gynecology & Urogynecology, where a few quality improvement changes have led to tremendous increases in mammography screenings. After incorporating patient reminders, creating a communications process with local imagining facilities and ensuring sound documentation processes, Cookeville GYN is helping to ensure more women get this important preventative measure.

Cookeville Gynecology & Urogynecology has been serving women of the Upper Cumberland region since 2011. Led by one physician and a team of nurse practitioners, this practice is known for its delivery of specialized surgical techniques as well as the thousands of more common pelvic and GYN health procedures. Their team provides high level, professional care that centers mutual trust and communication with patients.               

Cookeville GYN has always ordered mammograms for their patients but because they do not provide them in-house, they did not have a good system in place for ensuring patients obtained them in a timely manner. At the start of their improvement journey, only about 63% of patients were receiving timely breast cancer screenings. The practice made several changes to increase this figure. First, they established a process to contact the imaging facility directly if 30 days had passed after ordering the mammogram without receiving results. If the patient had not made or missed an appointment, the practice sent her a reminder letter. Additionally, Cookeville GYN streamlined their electronic health records to monitor this metric more closely, and began to check mammography status at every patient appointment. These changes have resulted in a 23% increase in screening — now, 86% of Cookeville GYN patients are getting timely mammograms. This improvement exceeds the practice’s own internal benchmarks as well as national standards.       

By incorporating greater communication on multiple fronts— with imaging facilities, with patients, and within the care team through the EHR, Cookeville Gynecology & Urogynecology is doing more to see that their patients receive important preventative health screenings.   

For more information about Cookeville Gynecology & Urogynecology, you can read their full story here. Are you a provider or administrator wondering how you can do more with data-driven continuous quality improvement to get results like Cookeville GYN? Check out the MidSouth PTN’s “Best Practices” Podcast Episode 6, “The Practice of Improvement: Part 1” where Dr. Thomas Spain discusses the two most common methods used in quality improvement today.  

The views expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of Cookeville Gynecology & Urogynecology. Additionally, this work was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, under grant number 1CMS331549-03-00. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.