Featured Practice: Nashville General Hospital — Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screenings

This week we are featuring Nashville General Hospital (NGH) Internal Medicine Clinic for its success in increasing colorectal cancer screenings. Through assistance and resources provided by TCPI, this practice improved it’s data management, expanded its capacity for screenings and improved the referral process, resulting in a nearly 15% improvement in overall screening rates.

Nashville General Hospital, located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, served its first patient in 1890. It opened more than a century ago to provide basic necessities and medical care for people unable to care for themselves. Today, the Internal Medicine Clinic’s mission remains true to its origins– to provide equitable access to patient-centered, quality care. The clinic serves an approximate 4,000 patients annually, the majority through Medicaid or indigent care.

Prior to TCPI, the clinic knew its colorectal cancer screenings were low, but they did not have a process in place or the tools to manage data and monitor progress. They implemented two changes to increase screenings. First, they developed criteria to identify patients to prioritize for screenings, and those patients now receive automatic referrals to a gastroenterologist for colonoscopies. TCPI assisted the clinic in establishing a reporting process, and data are reviewed on a monthly basis. Additionally, TCPI assisted the clinic in purchasing fecal occult blood tests to complete, in-house, as an alternative for patients that refused the colonoscopy. Patients receive email, mailing cards, phone calls and text reminders, per their preferences, when they are due for services.

Through these new initiatives, the Internal Medicine Clinic has increased its colorectal cancer screenings from 25% to nearly 40%. You can find more information about this practice and their improvement story at this link

The views expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of Nashville General Hospital. 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.