Providing Training and Education

Photo of nursing students

Training on improved processes and procedures can help clinic staff increase screening.

Award recipients in CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program have found many innovative ways to help those in need of cancer screening get the tests they need. Below, we share highlights from some programs that trained clinic staff and patient navigators.

New York Clinics Improve Cancer Screening Numbers with Guidance from State Department of Health

Primary care practices in New York State were having trouble increasing their cancer screening numbers to provide services to as many women as possible who needed them. Staff turnover, challenges implementing new policies, and competing priorities were part of the problem.

Beginning in 2014, every year, staff from the New York State Department of Health’s Cancer Services Program visited eight clinics to educate and guide staff members. The clinics serve patients who have a low income, are uninsured, and live in rural areas. The Department of Health staff helped clinic staff with quality improvement activities such as data collection and provider and practice assessments.

At the end of five years, the eight clinics raised their cancer screening rates by an average of more than 10%. The clinics were most successful with using patient and provider reminders, pre-visit planning, doctor education, and making a mobile mammography van available.

Patient Navigation Training Helps Women with Low Incomes in New Mexico Get Screened

The New Mexico Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program worked with 15 federally qualified health centers to provide cancer screening and patient navigation services. Almost all of their patients had low incomes, more than one-third didn’t have health insurance, and 28% spoke a language other than English. Patient navigators at these health centers helped women get cancer screening, follow-up care, and treatment, if needed.

In 2016, the program started a patient navigation test project based on CDC guidance. All patient navigators were required to be trained on how to serve patient needs. Program staff developed a navigation form, training presentation, and materials that were given to staff at the health centers.

This project helped more than 1,300 women in the 15 federally qualified health centers get screened for breast and/or cervical cancer. About two-thirds of women completed their breast cancer screening. More than 90% of women who needed follow-up tests completed them, and all of the women who were diagnosed with breast cancer started treatment. More than half of the women completed cervical cancer screening, and 81% of women who needed follow-up tests got them. The overall completion numbers for all services rose by 67%, and the number of women who refused services went down by almost half.