Increasing Breast Cancer Screening Rates Through an Alert Tool as a Component of the Electronic Medical Record: A Quality Improvement Project

For her master’s program, Elizabeth Kelsey, DNP, a family nurse practitioner at CHI Health’s Benson clinic, researched why women did not get mammograms.

“This sparked my idea,” she said, for a doctoral research project: an electronic medical record alert to signal clinicians if a woman is due for a mammogram.

The intent was to utilize the EMR system to increase breast cancer screening compliance, thus earlier identification of treatable breast cancer.

CHI Health team members from Population Health and Informatics helped build the software into the EMR and put it through rigorous testing. It next went live at several CHI Health Clinics in Nebraska and Iowa. Kelsey’s research measured how many providers used the alert, how many mammograms were ordered by providers and how many women had mammograms.

“Within the first month we had 43 mammograms ordered,” Kelsey said. Because the alert was added to Epic, it was available to other CHI facilities also using Epic – CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck, North Dakota, and CHI Franciscan Health in Tacoma, Washington. Kelsey presented the study at the Creighton College of Nursing Iota Tau Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society Annual Research Day and the Methodist Interprofessional Research Day.

Elizabeth Kelsey DNP, APRN, FNP-C