The Australian Government’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and National Cervical Screening Program are world-class public health initiatives, that now offer improved functionality to help GPs encourage their patients to screen.
Research shows GPs and other health professionals are a trusted source of health advice, and their engagement with patients plays a crucial role in encouraging participation in bowel and cervical screening.
One of the best ways to start an informed conversation about cancer screening with your eligible patients is by having better access to their screening information, which MedicalDirector Clinical users can do by integrating with the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR).
Olivia Gomes, Practice Manager at Bondi Doctors in Sydney, explains how the integration is helping her practitioners have timely conversations with patients about screening.
“Our practice enabled the integration in July 2022, and it has been a valuable addition that has really streamlined the process of supporting our eligible patient base and made that area of preventative care a lot easier.” said Olivia.
“Bondi and the surrounding suburbs can have a transient population at times. We have patients, particularly younger females, who have been to multiple GPs over the years because they may have moved across Sydney or interstate.”
“The process of finding out when they had their last cervical screening test could be very difficult and time consuming,” said Olivia. “This integration has given our clinicians a real-time view of our patient’s screening information, without needing to access a separate system – it simply saves time because we don’t have to go through the process of contacting previous GPs or relying on a patient’s memory of when they were last screened or what pathology lab their samples may have been sent to,” added Olivia.
“It would be great to have an hour with every new patient, but the reality is, it’s just not practical. For many doctors, if they need to stop to do something outside of their normal workflow, they may be unlikely to do it because of time constraints.”
Engaging with patients to enhance preventive care
Covering all necessary preventive care issues during short consultations is challenging, particularly for new patients with whom you may have little to no history.
This is particularly the case with bowel and cervical cancer, which are highly preventable and treatable when detected early.
This integration increases practitioner visibility of clinical touchpoints, leading to more targeted engagements with patients and opportunities to build awareness of health risks patients can address.
“It has certainly improved opportunistic interactions with patients about cancer screening,” said Olivia.
“Within the NCSR widget in the sidebar, we can view our patient’s screening status, history, alerts and next eligible screening date, which has been so beneficial – particularly for new patients, where we didn’t have this information readily available before.”
“Our GPs would have tried to discuss preventive health measures like bowel and cervical screening with new patients in the past, but if the appointment was about something else, they may not have had time to determine what their patient’s screening status was. Given these notifications now appear within the patient record, the information is a lot easier and faster to find.” said Olivia.
“This is where the NCSR integration tool is helpful: when a patient has come in for a different but potentially related matter, like an STI check, the doctor will use the NCSR sidebar to confirm when their last cervical screening test was."
“The access to this previous history within the patient record, which clearly shows when they are due or overdue for bowel or cervical screening, makes it much easier to navigate during short consultations. Having easier access to the right information makes doctor interactions with patients about cancer screening and preventive care significantly better.”
“Preventative care is a large part of what GPs do, and this tool has been incredibly helpful in allowing us to be more proactive.”
“The process of setting up the integration did take time, but we were provided with assistance to complete the integration smoothly,” said Olivia. “There is a level of information you need ready in advance, and with the support options available at both MedicalDirector and the NCSR, we were able to get it running quite quickly.”
“We were very excited when the functionality became available. It’s an efficiency that has allowed our GPs to really make the best use of the screening programs to support our patients.”
How the integration supports healthcare providers in maximising patient participation in these life-saving programs
By integrating MedicalDirector Clinical with the NCSR, you’ll have seamless access to patient bowel and cervical screening information directly through the sidebar within a patient record.
The integration enables users to:
- Manage patient participation in the bowel and cervical screening programs
- View screening histories to inform clinical recommendations
- Identify under- and never- screened patients and encourage them to participate
- Request replacement bowel program test kits on behalf of your patients directly to their home
- See when eligible patients are overdue for screening or have screen-detected abnormalities to prompt follow-up
- Electronically submit pre-populated screening program forms, alleviating the administrative burden of manual handling from paper forms, fax, and phone calls.
Resources and technical support
To find out more about how to integrate MedicalDirector Clinical with the NCSR, visit the NCSR Widget User Guide or request a call back from MedicalDirector to guide you through the process.
Visit the NCSR website to find out more about registering your practice to enable the integration. You can also book in a time for someone from the NCSR to call and assist you through the registration process.
About the NCSR
The NCSR is a digital platform developed to underpin the Australian Government’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and National Cervical Screening Program by inviting, reminding and following up participants for screening, as well as generating comprehensive data to inform policy and improve quality.
The NCSR has been designed to support the end-to-end operations of these life-saving programs to help achieve the shared goal of eliminating cervical cancer by 2035 and saving over 80,000 lives from bowel cancer by 2040.