Featured Practice: OB/GYN Associates of Cookeville – Increasing Breast Cancer Screenings

You’ve already heard a bit about the quality improvement work happening OB/GYN Associates of Cookeville and how they’ve reduced ED visits by addressing dehydration among pregnant patients. This week we are highlighting additional improvements that this Cookeville, Tennessee practice has accomplished to demonstrate how much of a difference proactive change work can truly make. By questioning what was always considered business as usual, OB/GYN Associates has implemented simple changes that have dramatically improved breast cancer screenings.

OB/GYN Associates provides high quality, respectful, family-oriented care to individuals and families from across the Upper Cumberland. With a core value of “help each other,” they provide an array of services to fit patients’ gynecological and obstetrical needs, ranging from annual wellness exams to fertility evaluations to invasive surgery and menopausal management.

It is a well-known fact that mammograms help save lives, yet some statistics indicate a slow decline in the number of women who routinely receive them. At OB/GYN Associates, staff realized they were only checking mammogram status during annual well visits. With no good answer as to why they couldn’t check more frequently, they resolved to check the date of patients’ last screening at every visit. Now at every visit, staff are trained to examine the patient’s record for screening status. If it is determined the patient is in need of a mammogram, there are three clear intervention points the care team can easily address: order the test if needed, remind the patient to schedule the test, or obtain lab results if the test had been completed by results not communicated appropriately.

By determining what point in the process a missed screening may occur, staff can learn about barriers that may keep patients from getting timely screenings and/or address workflow issues leading to delay. This extra discretion toward breast cancer screenings has increased their screening performance from 60% to 74.3% over the course of TCPI participation. Bravo to OB/GYN Associates of Cookeville for proactively addressing this important preventive health measure! You can read OB/GYN Associates full improvement story here.

Small tests of change can shine a light on areas for improvement in any practice. For a deep dive that explains how we can use continuous quality improvement to move the needle on any number of goals, tune into “The Practice of Improvement Part I and Part II” on our Best Practices Podcast series, followed by “Improvement in Practice: Cookeville OB/GYN” to hear directly from special guests at OB/GYN Associates about how they created a culture of change to implement this and other improvements.

The views expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of OB/GYN Associates of Cookeville. 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.