Use of form -- either long or short -- doubles the breast examination call rate

-- Beth Gilbert

Thursday, April 1, 2010 (Last Updated: 04/02/2010)

THURSDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- The use of a dedicated form after clinical breast examination to focus clinician attention on examination results doubles the percent of breast examinations leading to further evaluation, and results in anticipated cancers being found, according to a study in the April issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

William H. Goodson III, M.D., of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, and colleagues randomized clinicians to complete one of two forms after clinical breast examination. Ten clinicians recorded 964 examinations using a long form, intended to focus clinician attention by requesting general breast descriptors as well as clinical information and breast examination findings, while 11 clinicians recorded 558 examinations using a short form, documenting only clinical information and examination findings. The call rate (percent of examinations leading to further evaluation) was compared to historical controls (298 breast examinations by 16 clinicians).

The researchers found that the call rates were similar between clinicians using the long form and those using the short form, but the call rate using either form was significantly higher than the call rate in the previous year when no dedicated form was utilized (8.3 versus 4.7 percent). Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data had predicted 3.4 cancers in all of the patients; four cancers were found.

"Breast examination call rate doubled when attention was focused on examination results using a dedicated form, and we found the anticipated cancers. Breast examination quality can be improved by focusing clinician attention without retraining in technique," the authors write.

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Specialties Neurology
Family Practice
Internal Medicine

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