Quest Diagnostics’ Wellness team deserves recognition for achievement in patient engagement in colorectal cancer screening (CRC), potentially saving the lives of thousands. Quest Diagnostics provides a simple and convenient opportunity for millions of lives to take charge of their annual CRC screening by performing at-home collections. Patients are provided a simple and thorough results report to share with their physician for follow-up care. In this day and age of increased pressures to cut health care costs, Quest Diagnostics has maintained a commitment to support their CRC screening programs with the goal of patient engagement through education, screening and early detection.
Innovation And Communication – Quest Diagnostics’ targeted approach to increase patient CRC screening enhances the alignment between health plans, patients, their providers and the health of the patient and their families through direct communications. Improved patient engagement is achieved by creating a direct and convenient channel for patients to be screened. Screening programs include patients who are non-compliant within the recommended screening guidelines. The simplicity of the program: mailing of the kits, letter, FAQ, personalized requisition, a collection kit which doesn’t include fecal handling, reminder postcards/emails, mailing of the results to the patient, and in most cases, no out of pocket costs to the patient, all contribute to increased patient engagement. A physician oversight group provides additional communications via phone and certified mail when a patient has a detected result. These results will then connect the patient with their physician for care management.
Transformation – Quest Diagnostics’ CRC screening program has transformed the screening opportunities available to patients. For one health plan partner, the screening program is an annual offering since 2006. Annual programs encourage better habits and increase knowledge about self-wellness. Quest Diagnostics’ program is also transforming lives and families through early diagnosis. Patients whose cancers are detected in the earliest stage have a 90% chance of survival. The downstream transformation includes patient relationships with their physicians. Improving access to screening opportunities for those who aren’t maintaining regular healthcare visits may open the door to a physician visit and regular care.
Collaboration – Quest Diagnostics’ screening provides a collaboration circle with health plans, patients, and physicians. Quest partners with health plans to directly engage patients who are non-compliant for recommended CRC screening. Post-intervention analysis may occur through the sharing of results data with health plans, who in turn can analyze patient claims data following a detected result, ultimately tracking diagnosis and care. Quest Diagnostics works directly with the patients for specimen collection and reporting results. A physician oversight group collaborates for the ordering, results review and phone calls and/or certified mail to patients with a detected result. Patients are encouraged to share their results with their physician, incorporating them into the collaboration circle.
Inspiration – Changing one life in a program makes the program more than worth any costs. A recent health plan partner decided not to run another program due to measurement criteria changes. However, after a patient posted feedback on Facebook (see below), the health plan partnered with Quest Diagnostics for a second year. Inspiring stories such as these continue to have a ripple effect, encouraging further health screenings and management. “This week I had an operation. It was as a result of a home colon cancer screening test that [health plan] sent me. The results indicated positive and required a colonoscopy and then a bowel re-section. To be absolutely sure, a schedule of chemo therapy will be done. I am, so far, fine and have become a real believer in the screening test and colonoscopies. The home test that [health plan] sent to their members, probably added years to my life span. I almost threw the little cardboard test away, but decided it was time for me to be responsible about my health and did the 5 minute test. That decision (and the little cardboard test) was a life saver for me. The proactive attitude of [health plan] will allow me more years with grandchildren, and enjoying life in general. I really don’t know how to thank [health plan] for considering their customers’ health as their real ‘bottom line!’ Thank you!!!”
Quest Diagnostics’ Wellness screening program, has offered health knowledge with CRC results to over 51,000 patients, including over 4,000 detected results from January 1, 2012 through January 31, 2014.The response to these screenings is 3 to 7 times that of a typical health care direct mailing campaign. Patients who may previously been non-compliant are learning more and taking the steps with this screening to be proactively engaged in their health. Cost savings for these screenings affects all involved. Increasing the likelihood of early diagnosis decreases treatment costs for patients, health plans and employers. Decreasing work absenteeism, most commonly associated with certain screening modalities, health problems and treatment more associated with later stage diagnosis. And finally, the most important result…Life. CRC is typically symptom-free until late stage. Quest Diagnostics’ program encourages annual screening even if the patient has no concerns or symptoms, increasing survivability when there is a diagnosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60 percent of deaths from CRC could be prevented if everyone age 50 and older were screened regularly. Quest Diagnostics’ program is helping to close that gap by providing an annual direct-to-patient screening opportunity.