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Physicians with The Permanente Medical Group in Northern California noticed fewer patients coming in for breast cancer screenings during initial COVID-19 stay-at-home orders last year, so the medical group took action, Tatjana Kolevska, MD, medical director for the Kaiser Permanente National Cancer Excellence Program said in a recent interview with The New York Times.
“Doctors immediately got together” to contact and remind patients that they can safely get their mammograms, said Dr. Kolevska, a medical oncologist and hematologist with The Permanente Medical Group. Dr. Kolevska was quoted in a story about the decline in appointments for mammograms and other screening tests for potential cancers during lockdowns, possibly leading to undiagnosed malignancies.
Because Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record allows primary care physicians and other care team members to see when women are overdue for mammograms, they have been able to remind patients to make appointments or book appointments in real time.
Dr. Kolevska said she was encouraged by the number of patients in her practice who are now up to date with their mammograms. “All of those things [we’ve] put in place have helped tremendously.”
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