New Online Tool Identifying Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer
Early detection of breast cancer influences a woman’s chance of survival. The traditional way this is done is through routine mammograms which women typically begin after the age of 40. However, OSF HealthCare is adding another layer of protection that can help predict the likelihood of the disease before it’s spotted in an x-ray.
In 2015, the OSF Innovation Partnership team collaborated with CancerIQ, a startup out of MATTER in Chicago to pilot the company’s innovative, genetic screening tool within the OSF HealthCare Centers for Breast Health in Peoria that helps identify patients at high risk for breast cancer.
The digital health care solution is an online high-risk assessment survey that women are encouraged to complete when they come in for a screening mammogram. The five-minute assessment flags vulnerable patients in real-time based on a short personal and family history questionnaire. The application gives providers the information they need to quickly investigate the possibility of hereditary cancer for a patient.
“If they screen at high risk then they are offered an appointment to come back, do some genetic counseling, get genetic-hereditary cancer information and testing if they qualify and if that’s something they choose to do,” said Michele Settelmyer, an Advanced Practice Nurse and genetic specialist at the OSF Centers for Breast Health in Peoria.
Since CancerIQ’s inception, the practice has screened more than 20,000 women. Over 5000 patients were found to have a high risk of cancer. 14 patients since April of this year tested positive for genetic mutations that drastically increase their chance of developing cancer. This has led to a need for increased screenings, the possibility of taking a medication that can prevent cancer from emerging or referrals to a breast surgeon.
The pilot for CancerIQ was recently expanded to OSF locations in Rockford.
“One of the things I always tell people when I talk about piloting solutions is that we are obviously still testing the technology but we are also designing the process and people around how we are going to implement and execute a solution,” said Matthew Warrens, Vice President of OSF Innovation Partnerships. “And that’s what we are refining right now to understand where else can we be using this tool and how can we be getting it to more of our patients?”
The Peoria pilot has led to various re-designs of the CancerIQ software, making it easier for patients to use. The testing also showed enough demand for the service that OSF hired genetic specialists for both Peoria and Rockford locations.
Piloting unique health care solution such as CancerIQ is just one of the ways OSF implements new, innovative technologies, devices or software. The health care organization also helps companies identify usability problems before they go to market and offers clinical trials for mediations, diagnostic products.
The ultimate goal is to ensure the solutions being used will help OSF meet its Vision of transforming health care to improve the lives of those it serves.