Screening for certain types of cancer helps to detect the disease early and increases chances for successful treatment. Besides, timely cancer screening reduces the cost of treatment started at an earlier stage and reduces mortality risks. However, doctors do not always recommend screening people from risk groups (Martin et al., 2020). According to research, the main reasons that create barriers to screening are patients with multiple health problems, limited time to discuss screening, and the doctor’s lack of financial compensation to discuss screening (Lynn et al., 2018). At the same time, doctors talk about the need for educational programs to understand cancer screening better. The most preferred training types are conferences, self-study, small group workshops, hospital appointments, and online continuing education courses (Lynn et al., 2018). Therefore, the education of doctors in cancer screening is in high demand.
Noteworthy, some cancers do not require screening for asymptomatic adults, as they are either dangerous to health or give too high a percentage of false positives. In particular, screening the ovaries, pancreas, prostate, testicles, and thyroid glands did not show reduced mortality from these cancers (Screening tests, 2020). Besides, some scientists believe that lung cancer screening is not an effective way to fight cancer, as it can cause complications and gives a high rate of false positives (Henderson et al., 2017). Nonetheless, the American Cancer Society recommends screening for breast cancer, colon, and rectal cancer and polyps, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer (American Cancer Society guidelines, 2020). After conducting a training program for doctors and nurses, the hospital will contribute to reducing the spread of cancer in the population.
The Target Audience
The educational program’s target audience should be all hospital staff who work directly with patients. The higher the team’s awareness, the better advice patients will receive concerning cancer screening. It is the responsibility of primary care physicians to advise a patient to undergo cancer screening. These are attending and resident primary care physicians, physician assistants, and registered nurses with advanced practice, pediatricians, family physicians, and home-based nurses. They are also professionals who specialize in treating diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, ENT doctors, endocrinologists, gynecologists, proctologists, and urologists. Therefore, it is recommended that most hospital staff who works with patients complete the education course.
Benefits of the Quality Improvement Initiative
Increasing knowledge of the benefits and harms and the relevance of various cancer screening types will allow for better health outcomes among mature patients who are most often at risk. The necessary screening will also benefit patients at risk due to heredity or risk factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, tobacco, alcohol, or drug use. Simultaneously, the hospital will help reduce adverse health effects by promoting awareness of cancers for which screening is not recommended. An accurate and clear understanding of which patients are at risk and which are not will help increase the overall level of patient care and their health outcomes.
The approval and implementation of the educational initiative will require the consent of the board of directors, the chairman of the board, the director of the hospital, the heads of departments, and the senior nurses. A person will need to be appointed to invite faculty members and organize a conference, small group workshops, hospital appointments, and overseeing self-study or online continuing education courses. A collegial decision about which type of training will be preferred should also be made.
Online courses followed by testing and small group workshops are likely to be most effective. Besides, based on educational information, a table of recommendations will be compiled and printed in a placate format so that doctors can hang them on the walls in their offices. On the one hand, these posters will attract patients’ attention, and on the other, they will act as cheat sheets for cancer screening recommendations.
The educational initiative costs will include salaries for teachers and subsequent payments for doctors’ and nurses’ hours, which they will spend on educating patients about the benefits or harms of cancer screening. It is expected that each employee will spend several hours every month on this type of work. As a result, the provision of cancer screening advice is expected to be accurate and effective and will result in improved patients’ health outcomes.
Once the education initiative is implemented, and doctors and nurses are trained, an evaluation of the results will need to be done. To this end, a study will compare patients’ health outcomes before and after the training. The health outcomes are expected to reflect the efforts of health care providers, reporting on the education initiative’s positive impact. However, a neutral result is also possible if the recommendations for screening were previously at a high level or if doctors’ recommendations do not resonate with patients. The study, which will serve as the basis for evaluating the initiative, will be based on data from patients’ health outcomes for the specified periods.
American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer. (2020). Web.
Henderson, L. M., Jones, L. M., Marsh, M. W., Brenner, A. T., Goldstein, A. O., Benefield, T. S., & Reuland, D. S. (2017). Opinions, practice patterns, and perceived barriers to lung cancer screening among attending and resident primary care physicians. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 10, 189.
Lynn, B., Hatry, A., Burnett, C., Kan, L., Olatunbosun, T., & Bluman, B. (2018). Identifying primary care physicians continuing education needs by examining clinical practices, attitudes, and barriers to screening across multiple cancers. Journal of Cancer Education, 33(6), 1255-1262.
Martin, K., Vogel, R. I., Nagler, R. H., Wyman, J. F., Raymond, N., Teoh, D., & Blaes, A. H. (2020). Mammography screening practices in average-risk women aged 40–49 years in primary care: A comparison of physician and non-physician providers in Minnesota. Journal of Women’s Health, 29(1), 91-99.
Screening tests. (2020). Web.