Screening for health
PCNs are reminding patients when it’s time for regular tests
to detect diseases earlier
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MIKE RIDEWOOD
Life is busy and it can be easy to
forget when it’s time for a regular
screening test. That’s why Primary
Care Networks are tracking your
screening tests and giving you a call
if you miss one.
Screening for diseases, such as
breast or colon cancer, heart disease
and diabetes, may detect problems
earlier. Earlier detection means
you can get started on treatments
sooner and can improve your health
With healthcare systems moving
from old paper records to electronic
medical records (EMR), your
healthcare provider can keep a
confidential, complete collection of
your personal health information.
Your family doctor can discuss
such tests with you during your
appointment and EMRs make it
easy to remind you even if you don’t
“We have more access to the
information about the patients and
we use it to improve care,” says Dr.
Michelle Hart at Vantage Medical
of the Calgary West Central PCN.
“Now with the click of a button, we
can see the tests that are due and
a team member can phone and
Justine Yoc, a patient care
coordinator at Calgary West Central
PCN, calls about 100 people a
week to remind them of a missed
test. “If they don’t answer, I leave
a message,” she says. “People are
pretty positive and thankful that
you’re calling them to update them.
Some of them say ‘Oh it’s so busy,
I totally forgot it’s been that long.
Thanks for the heads-up.’”
Your PCN will remind you of a wide
range of screening tests, including
mammograms, pap smears and
colonoscopies. Other tests include
a blood test and body mass index
(a calculation based on your weight
and height) to screen for diabetes;
cholesterol and blood pressure
measurements for heart disease;
and assessing your bones for
osteoporosis. Long-time smokers
may be screened for lung cancer.
“Many other countries have been
doing this for a while. There is very
good evidence that calling patients
to remind them of missed tests
improves their health outcomes,”
Hart says, “and patients appreciate
FOR MORE ON SCREENING TESTS, SEE
THE SPRING 2016 ISSUE OF HEALTH
MATTERS AT APPLEMAG.CA.
Dr. Michelle Hart (left) and patient care coordinator Justine Yoc of the Calgary West Central PCN. Calgary PCNs are finding
patients appreciate reminders for regular screening tests.