By Hilary Deskins, RN, BSN
The U. S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended the expansion of lung cancer screening criteria to include those aged 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
This is what lung cancer screening (LCS) navigators and program administrators have been waiting for, yet I believe it will be a double-edged sword. Yes, it should spur more providers to have conversations with eligible patients. Even better is the false-positive rate, believed by many to be in the 90s percentile, has been proven to be closer to 7–8% — similar to screening mammography.
What will LCS programs and navigators need to consider to prepare for this change? Here are HealthMyne’s top 3 recommendations:
- Determine if the technology solution you have in place will allow your organization to effectively scale and manage an increased LCS patient load. Consider developing a business case and ROI to open discussions with your administration for additional program and technology needs.
- Ensure your program is leveraging industry awareness and education resources to help communicate with your providers regarding these new recommendations (i.e. LuCa National Training Network and the GO2 Foundation)
- Have a plan and updated workflow processes in place to address the large number of patients who will soon be eligible for LCS. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) stated in its news release that these changes will nearly double the number of people eligible for lung cancer screening.
Finding the right resources can make all the difference for your program as you face these new and exciting times. It will be critical to plan now for the impact of the USPSTF recommendations to ensure effective, efficient, and high quality LCS programs are delivered with improved patient outcomes.