The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is defined as the most commonly accepted and used performance measurement and improvement tool in health care. In six domains of care, HEDIS aims to measure performance to estimate the opportunity of improvements that may influence the quality of health care delivery and patients’ outcomes in a highly positive way. This paper implies the evaluation of potential interventions in breast cancer screening and their contribution to the effectiveness of care, cost savings, and patient outcomes improvement.
Interventions for Breast Cancer Screening
Despite technological progress, innovations in medicine, and the general improvement of the population’s life quality, cancer is still regarded as one of the most disturbing and severe diseases worldwide. In the United States, cancer is “the second leading cause of death, exceeded only by heart disease” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017, para. 2). In turn, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women all over the world and American women, in particular, regardless of their race and ethnicity (“Breast Cancer Screening (BCS),” n.d.). In general, the early detection of breast cancer through screening is immeasurably significant as it may improve outcomes and substantively reduce the morbidity and mortality of this disease (“Breast Cancer Screening (BCS),” n.d.). In addition, the detection of cancer at the early stages inevitably leads to multiple treatment options and cost-effective health care.
Before the implementation of any intervention to improve the effectiveness of care related to breast cancer, it is essential to identify the vulnerable population. Thus, the high lifetime risk of breast cancer for women traditionally includes the following factors:
- Age (older women are more vulnerable to breast cancer);
- Personal history of breast cancer;
- Family history of breast cancer in first-degree relatives (children, parents, grandparents, siblings) and second-degree relatives (cousins, aunts) on both sides (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020);
- Inherited genetic mutation BRCA1 and BRCA2 that causes abnormal cell growth and leads to breast cancer (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020);
- Previous radiation therapy to the chest;
- Heterogeneous breast density;
- Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome (a family history of these syndrome increases the risk of breast cancer as well (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020).
The first and the most accessible and simple intervention that successfully contributes to the prevention of breast cancer and increases the efficacy of health care is a clinical breast exam. Regular breast exams may be done physically in clinical settings by health professionals based on distinctive symptoms or as a part of routine examination if a woman a high risk of breast cancer (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020). A clinical breast exam cannot be defined as the most efficient strategy of breast cancer early detection as the earliest stages of the disease imply the absence of symptoms and physical signs. However, this practice should be considered, and advanced nurse practitioners may offer consultations to female patients concerning the significance of breast cancer self-screening. As a result, women will receive all necessary information related to the normal look of their breasts and directly report to their health care providers in case of any changes.
The second intervention that may be regarded as fundamental is mammography. Regular mammograms are the low doses of x-rays that help to detect breast cancer formation at early stages for the most successful and time-sensitive treatment (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020). In addition, the high efficiency of mammography is determined by the opportunity to find cancer years before the development of physical symptoms (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020). The American Cancer Society recommends mammography as an optional method of screening for women with an average risk of breast cancer (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020). According to multiple research, regular mammograms help women to avoid aggressive treatment, such as chemotherapy or mastectomy, and increase their chances for a complete cure (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020). From a personal perspective, health care providers should make pre-arranged mammography for women biannually. In addition, nurse practitioners should inform patients about the process, benefits, and potential limitations of this type of screening.
Finally, the third potential intervention for the enhancement of health care efficiency and breast cancer prevention is breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This method implies the use of strong magnets and radio waves to receive detailed images of the breast (“Breast MRI,” 2019). In combination with mammography, MRI is used in women with a high lifetime risk of breast cancer to screening for this disease. Moreover, MRI is frequently applied when breast cancer has been already detected to measure the tumor’s size and check the existence of tumors in another breast (“Breast MRI,” 2019). In general, breast MRI requires special equipment and competent health care professionals.
Benefits of Interventions
All methods of breast cancer screening substantially contribute to the improvement of patients’ outcomes and cost savings. First of all, the detection of breast cancer at early stages and appropriate time-sensitive treatment are the most efficient strategies of mortality prevention (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020). According to the American Cancer Society, “breast cancer that’s found early, when it’s small and has not spread, is easier to treat successfully” (“Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis,” 2020, para. 1). That is why all interventions are highly beneficial and lead to the general improvement of the result of health care delivery. In addition, regular screening is cost-effective as long-lasting and aggressive treatment of breast cancer has a considerably negative effect on cost savings.
In addition, the described interventions for efficient breast cancer positively influence NP patient ratings as well. First of all, all interventions are differentiated based on the patient’s initial condition. Thus, mammography may be applicable for women with an average breast cancer risk in the absence of symptoms, a clinical breast exam may be useful when a patient detected any changes in the breast, and breast MRI is used in women with breast cancer or its high risk. This differentiation helps a nurse practitioner to use time more effectively to increase productivity. In addition, competent health care providers who carefully explain all potential benefits, limitations, and risks of breast cancer screening form solid relationships with their patients based on mutual trust and contribute to the improvement of health care quality as well.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women all over the world and American women, in particular, regardless of their race and ethnicity. The early detection of breast cancer through screening is immeasurably significant as it may improve outcomes and substantively reduce the morbidity and mortality of this disease. Three interventions may successfully contribute to the prevention of breast cancer and increase the efficacy of health care – a clinical breast exam, mammography, and breast MRI. All interventions substantially contribute to the improvement of patients’ outcomes and cost savings and positively influence the patient ratings of health care providers.
Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis. (2020). American Cancer Society. Web.
Breast Cancer Screening (BCS). (n.d.). NCQA. Web.
Breast MRI. (2019). American Cancer Society. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). United States Cancer Statistics: Data visualizations. Web.