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Bridge the Gap: Make Closing Breast Cancer Screening Gaps a Priority This Month

Perhaps you’ve seen the pink ribbons while waiting in line the grocery store, come across a benefit walk where everyone was clad in pink, or maybe even noticed NFL players wearing an unusual amount of pink this month. As individuals, businesses, and charitable organizations across the country join forces in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness, pink apparel is everywhere this month. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among American women, but thanks in part to improvements in screening and treatments, more women than ever are beating the disease. Events like Breast Cancer Awareness Month help to remind women the importance of taking the necessary steps to detect the disease at an early stage.

Health plans can also play a role in the fight to end breast cancer by ensuring that members are closing their breast cancer screening gaps. Not only that, but having a high breast cancer screening adherence rate is beneficial to both the health plan and their members. We’ve compiled some additional reasons why boosting breast cancer screening rates should be one of your plan’s top priorities this month:  

Healthier members — Mammograms help find breast cancer early, when treatments are likely to be less invasive and more successful. Randomized screening trials indicate that mammography reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer by 15% to 20%.[i] Additional studies focused on screening programs in Europe suggest that mammography reduced breast cancer deaths by more than one third.[ii] While these statistics differ, it is clear that having an annual mammogram increases the potential for early detection and a greater range of treatment options.

Score high on HEDIS® — In this rapidly changing health care market meeting quality rating goals is critical for health plans to successfully compete and define their value. Breast cancer screening is an important HEDIS® quality measure for health plans to consider. Since HEDIS® scores are rated on a comparative scale, there is an opportunity for health plans to excel in this area and raise the bar for other plans.

Effective timing — There is still time to close gaps and impact your scores for 2014. October can be a particularly effective time to make an impact with members about closing their breast cancer screening gap. Breast cancer awareness month and the wave of pink everywhere is a continuous reminder to schedule mammography appointments for those that still have a gap in care.

Member satisfaction — The National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, but the number of people that breast cancer will affect this year is much higher than that.[iii] For every mother, grandmother, wife, sister, and aunt that is diagnosed with breast cancer this year, there are family and friends who are also highly impacted by her diagnosis. High breast cancer screening adherence rates demonstrates a commitment to combating an illness that impacts many members’ lives.

Health Dialog has developed a customizable and impactful HEDIS® support program that helps your health plan’s scores go up and your quality ratings soar. Click here to learn how Health Dialog can help your plan increase adherence for breast cancer screenings and other key HEDIS® quality measures.

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