Opportunity to Enhance Genetic Services
As a national leader in genetics at a top medical center, the genetics team at UAB Medicine (UAB) in Birmingham, Alabama saw an opportunity to enhance and extend their cancer genetic services to improve care for more patients at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.
With expanding national cancer care guidelines, more patients are likely to meet the criteria for receiving genetic services. To ensure they could keep pace with the growing population of patients that may qualify for these services, UAB’s genetics team sought a solution to help them and their non-genetics providers more efficiently apply the evolving and complex cancer guidelines to screen more patients and identify those who may be at-risk.
“We wanted a tool that set our team and providers up for success, to identify as many patients as possible that could benefit from genetic testing. “
ALEXIS HEATHERLY, LEAD CANCER GENETIC COUNSELOR AT UAB
Live and in Clinics Within Six Weeks
UAB chose to implement Genome Medical’s RISE Risk Assessment Module (RISE). The digital tool analyzes family and personal health history against national cancer care guidelines to determine if a patient meets genetic testing criteria with physician oversight.
The UAB genetics team needed a lab-agnostic solution so they could screen all patients and order the most appropriate genetic test from the laboratory of their choice, which RISE offers. They also selected RISE for its:
- Flexibility: To use in a variety of clinic settings based on desired workflows
- Ease of use: By UAB’s diverse patient population (age, gender, race, etc.)
- Real-time results: So patients and clinicians could take immediate and actionable next steps
It took less than six weeks for UAB to launch RISE in multiple clinics. Genome Medical set up custom RISE workflows for each clinic and the UAB genetics team attended a one-hour training session before going live. “Rollout was seamless,” said Heatherly.
Adaptability to Meet Clinic & Patient Needs
“The flexibility of RISE allowed us to look at what would work best in each clinic, which can be completely different.”
For example, in a UAB point-of-care clinic serving newly diagnosed cancer patients, alleviating patient stress was a high priority, in addition to aiding non-genetics providers in identifying patients for genetic testing. In another cancer clinic with genetics providers, gathering health history in advance was important for a more productive appointment.
UAB Custom Workflows
Patient Experience and Value
Patient receives text message, completes RISE and schedules their appointment. Patients like the convenience and ability to immediately schedule their appointment.
Patient receives text message 2 weeks before appointment, completes RISE on phone. Patients appreciate the time to reach out to relatives and gather family history in advance.
Patient completes RISE in clinic, either on phone or tablet. Patients learn immediately if they meet testing criteria and can ask questions.
Proactively Identifying More At-Risk Patients & Increasing Efficiency
To-date nearly 300 patients have completed RISE. With that, the UAB team has seen an increase in patients identified who would benefit from genetic services, supporting optimal cancer care. As patient volumes grew, UAB also used the telehealth genetic counseling from Genome Medical to maintain service delivery standards and reduce patient wait times.
In addition, the UAB team realized RISE helped them deliver the same standard of genetic care more efficiently. When patients completed RISE, genetic counselors were able to spend less time on routine intake questions and could pre-build portions of the patient’s pedigree.
Ms. Heatherly summed up the UAB team’s experience using RISE by saying, “[it] is asking the important detailed questions that really differentiate risks for patents. We are capturing a lot of patients who may have previously not been identified and that’s enabling us to deliver better care across our clinics.”