Lung screening: A promising line of defense in the lung cancer battle

Lung screening recently moved to the forefront of the cancer prevention discussion. As you may be aware, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States—and incidence is on the rise.1 Unfortunately lung cancer isn’t typically caught until the late stages when prognosis is poor, but lung screening programs can help increase survival odds by identifying cancer in its early stages.

In 2011, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) demonstrated a 20% reduction in lung cancer mortality using low-dose CT scanning for high-risk patients. In response to this study, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released lung screening recommendations aimed at patients aged 55 to 80 who are current (or former) smokers with a 30-pack-year smoking history. When Medicare announced coverage for low-dose CT lung screening programs in February 2015, hospitals and cancer centers across the U.S. began launching their own screening programs.

An estimated 8.7 million individuals are eligible for screening under the new guidelines.2 This sheer volume of eligible patients creates a critical need for an efficient program model that leverages all available tools for increasing cost efficiencies, ensuring data integrity, and improving interdisciplinary communication. Equicare is emerging as an integral part of that model.

Coordination of lung screening programs is a logical extension of our cancer care coordination solution. Accordingly, we’ve worked with hospitals and cancer centers to develop functionality and processes that support requirements specific to the effective implementation of lung screening programs. With Equicare, program coordinators are able to streamline workflow, simplify reporting, and increase both efficiency and accuracy.

Using the Equicare documentation, scheduling, reporting follow-up templates, the program coordinator can manage the process electronically, eliminating time-consuming and cumbersome paper systems and ensuring the integrity of patient data. Equicare creates a simplified workflow, producing a daily worklist to help manage patients through the screening process and facilitate timely follow-up. Automated alerts ensure no appointments are overlooked; patients receive the care they need, when they need it.

Lung Screening Template

The Equicare solution also enables program coordinators to run key reports with ease, e.g. number of referrals from a specific PCP or number of screens performed. Population summaries provide essential data to meet the ACR Lung Cancer Screening Registry requirements. Phase 2 of our plan to support lung screening will enable us to automatically capture screening results and communicate those results to patients, and physicians. Equicare will also have the power to submit data to the ACR registry automatically from within the system. We plan to release this Phase 2 in 2017.

Lung screening functionality is available in ECS v4.5.  Please contact us for a demonstration.

  2. Lewis JA, Petty JW, Tooze JA, Miller DP, Chiles C, Miller A, Bellinger C, and Weaver E. Low-dose CT lung cancer screening practices and attitudes among primary care providers at an academic medical center. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. April 2015 24; 664.