A New Approach to Increasing Screening Mammography Compliance

by | Apr 13, 2022

Much progress has been made in breast cancer screening. Today’s 3D mammography technology provides more detailed images so there are fewer false positives.[1] In fact, just 10% of individuals are now asked to return for additional testing. Of those that return, only 0.5% will be diagnosed with cancer.[2] The overwhelming majority of mammogram screenings are normal.

Advances in technology are accompanied by advances in treatments and drug therapy. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for someone diagnosed with breast cancer is 99% for localized disease and 86% for regional disease.[3] But early detection is key. For patients whose disease is metastatic when detected, the five-year survival rate is just 27%.[4]

Even with the progress that is being made, compliance is still lower than it should be. According to the CDC, in 2018 just 66.7% of women aged 40 had received a mammogram in the previous two years.[5] Women aged 50 or over fared only slightly better at 68.5%. This level of noncompliance is troubling.

Research shows that women who are consistently compliant with mammography guidelines for their age are at much lower risk of breast cancer death.[6] A study of mammography screening in more than half a million women found that “missing either one of the last two examinations conferred a significantly higher risk of dying from breast cancer.”[7] Conversely, those who kept both appointments had a 49% lower risk of breast cancer mortality and a 50% lower risk of death from breast cancer within 10 years of a diagnosis.[8]

One of the biggest challenges keeping women from getting regular mammograms is a lack of convenience. Finding a location, scheduling the appointment, requesting time off work, and finding childcare can be challenging.

More forward-thinking practices are taking things into their own hands. Instead of just handing the patient an order and sending them on their way, they’re actually bringing mammography technology to their office. This helps make screenings more convenient; women can get them at the same time as their annual wellness visit.

Another benefit of offering mammography in the practice is that it can be a more personalized experience for the patient. Many imaging centers are located in large, impersonal settings like hospitals or outpatient clinics. With an onsite offering, women are able to get screened in a more friendly, familiar setting with staff she already knows.

Offering mammography services in the practice also helps practices grow revenue and gain a competitive advantage. David G. Carmichael, executive administrator at Birmingham Obstetrics & Gynecology and Onsite client says, “By offering this service line in our office, our patients see us as a top-tier OB-GYN practice. It sets us apart that we’re able to offer this service along with others to make it a one-stop-shop for our patients.”

Getting the technology set up can be quite simple and cost effective. Mammography service providers can provide the technology, personnel, maintenance, and certifications as a part of their service. This allows practices to continue focusing on providing quality care without having to add additional resources.

Removing barriers to improve compliance

There is an urgent need to make screening mammograms a priority in women’s healthcare, especially now. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, screenings have drastically declined, putting women at even greater risk of breast cancer death.[9] Adding mammography technology within a practice is the perfect way to improve compliance and save lives.

Onsite Women’s Health can help. We offer providers the ability to provide 3D mammography services embedded within their practice environment. We deliver best in class project management, installation, and operational services, allowing providers and staff to remain focused on their patients with a care process that includes 3D mammography. We provide everything you need, including radiologic technologists and administrative assistants. We can even help with scheduling and reminders. We also take care of all maintenance and certifications.

“Onsite is just the fit we needed for our practice,” says Denise Moore, PHR, business administrator for Physicians to Women, P.A. “Our patients are pleased that we provide this service, our compliance has increased, the tech and radiologist are extremely efficient, and our revenue has increased.”

[1] https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/radiol.2020201854

[2] https://www.acraccreditation.org/mammography-saves-lives

[3] https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures-2019-2020.pdf

[4] ibid.

[5] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2019/033-508.pdf

[6] https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/radiol.2021203935?_ga=2.11287732.1419576820.1637252737-294084905.1637252737

[7] https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/radiol.2021203935?_ga=2.11287732.1419576820.1637252737-294084905.1637252737

[8] https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/radiol.2021203935?_ga=2.11287732.1419576820.1637252737-294084905.1637252737

[9] https://www.wdam.com/2021/07/07/sharp-decline-mammograms-due-covid-19-pandemic/