Erie County Medical Center Corp.’s breast health program was recently honored by America’s Essential Hospitals as a top 10 submission nationally. The VITAL 2020 Awards committee stated this program was “receiving high marks and extensive consideration” for its increasing breast health equity via primary care navigation program in the population health category.
ECMC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., Ph.D., said, “We are appreciative to America’s Essential Hospitals for this recognition. The results of this initiative to increase mammography screening highlight the dedication of ECMC’s primary care staff and Western New York breast health for their commitment to improving patient outcomes and access. Ultimately, this initiative has saved lives.”
As of 2016, the breast cancer mortality rate in Erie County exceeded that of the state by 4.7 percent. With support from the American Cancer Society Change Grant program, ECMC examined barriers preventing women from getting mammograms. A survey of patients showed transportation to be the single largest barrier to obtaining health care. Further complicating matters, Western New York breast health previously only offered mammogram services through its mobile mammography coach, and screening results were not automatically entered into patient records. Instead, results were often mailed, called in, faxed, or otherwise electronically sent to the main health care campus.
In October 2018, an ECMC Foundation and Western New York breast health initiative began to increase mammography screening in primary care clinics by monitoring provider ordering compliance, tracking contact attempts for all patient reminders, and conducting training for all providers and staff on motivational interviewing. Further, transportation barriers were addressed through the mobile mammography coach and a collaboration with a local taxi service.
As a result of the initiative, ECMC and Western New York breast health saw a nearly 12% increase in mammography screenings over a yearlong period, including four potential lives saved – four patients returned abnormal screenings and were later confirmed to have breast cancer. In addition, the project resulted in several important improvements to internal processes to meet patients’ needs.
Information about ECMC breast health services and the mobile mammography unit is available at 716-632-7465 and https://www.ecmc.edu/health-services-and-doctors/cancer-and-oncology/breast-oncology/.
ECMC primary care services including breast health care is provided through the ECMC Family Center at 716-831-8612, the ECMC Grider Family Health Center at 716-898-4449 and at https://www.ecmc.edu/health-services-and-doctors/primary-care-physicians/family-medicine-and- pediatrics/.