Dr. Eric Vachon discusses evidence generated by a study of rural, Midwestern women that shows increased uptake of cancer screening after telehealth and patient navigator interventions.
For this study, we found that for the particular sample that we included for women in Indiana and Ohio, we found that both the DVD and, even more so, the DVD plus patient navigator strategies were effective in increasing these rates. We do believe that these strategies are scalable to other areas of the country and other samples. That is the great advantage of some of these technology and individualized resources and strategies is that we can customize them to be effective across other groups, particularly in terms of increasing screening rates not just for the included breast, colorectal and cervical cancers in the study, but potentially being able to increase other screening rates for other cancers.
Technology is becoming more widely used. The use of patient navigators is becoming an increasingly utilized resource, and so it is important that it was by a wide margin, incredibly effective in terms of increasing screening for all three types of these cancers. So we’re really proud of that.
In general, women in rural areas have lower access to certain care resources, which leads to lower screening rates. So we can provide electronic strategies — video or telehealth interventions — or have someone individualized like a patient navigator work with these women to increase their screening rates. If we are able to catch cancer early on, that can both reduce the cost for the patients and the family themselves, as well as the healthcare system as a whole.