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Preventing Breast Cancer with Routine Genetic Screening Using Epic

OSF HealthCare makes screening an essential part of care to find patients at risk of early-onset breast cancer

Genetic risk assessment for cancer is especially important for women under 50, who might not get regular mammograms but could be at an elevated risk for breast cancer. To combat a high rate of breast cancer in the counties they serve, OSF HealthCare in Illinois and Michigan provides this screening during routine appointments. Since 2015, they’ve found around 17,500 patients with a genetic risk of breast cancer and started them on follow-ups to prevent the disease.

OSF started these screenings in specialty departments, such as women’s health, and recently expanded them to primary care. Providers use a third-party questionnaire integrated in Epic to learn more about a patient’s risk for hereditary cancer. If a patient is at risk, the provider starts follow-ups, such as a prevention plan or patient education. Other providers on the care team can reference the genetic screening and related care in the patient’s Epic chart.

“We need to engage these patients in the primary care setting to identify genetic factors early, help patients access preventive care, and make the difference before a diagnosis,” said Dr. Naresh Agarwal, regional director of primary care at OSF Healthcare.

Learn more about OSF Healthcare’s cancer risk assessment workflow at HIT Consultant.