The rate of women getting mammograms has been dropping, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. Nationally, 1.9% fewer women received mammograms in 2004 than in the preceeding year. Medicaid enrolllees also saw a similar drop.
Vicki Rakowski, executive vice president of the American Cancer Society, Great Lakes division, observed. “You can buy pink anything today but you can’t find a message about mammography. Perhaps something got lost in the message.” Some health plans are using incentives to women and physicians to try to raise the mammogram rate. This harkins back to US Healthcare – now part of Aetna – which paid cash bonuses to physicians who reached certain targets for preventive services, such a mammograms, immunizations and the like.
Preventive service reminders, whether by postcard, email or telephone – are a tool to provide an additional service for your patients and to help make a difference. The American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) is an excellent resource, and in my May 8, 2006 post on this blog I talk about other sources and ideas.