Dylon K. Gookin
Nearly 8 out of every 100,000 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. However, powerful screening tools exist that enable us to detect and manage cervical changes before they develop into cervical cancer. In spite of this, cervical cancer screening rates remain low for many providers. This public health project sought to identify and address a cause for low cervical cancer screening rates within the Hudson Headwaters Health Network. A literature review determined that education and mailed invitation letters were proven methods for improving cervical cancer screening rates. Following a review of the local population demographics, West Mountain Health Center within the Hudson Headwaters Health Network was targeted for a mailing campaign. The letter provided education about cervical cancer and an invitation for screening. This letter was mailed to 1075 eligible patients, with intent to compare the screening rates among patients who received this letter with screening rates among patients from previous years.
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancers are diagnosed in 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women in their lifetime. Despite the wide range of effective CRC screening options available in the US, the Hudson Headwaters Health Network (HHHN) has seen little improvement in its CRC screening rates of approximately 60-63% in recent years. This places HHHN, an FQHC in Upstate New York, well below the National Colorectal Cancer Round Table 2018 goal of 80% screening in eligible, average-risk adults. This quality improvement project sought to improve HHHN’s CRC screening rates through a new FITKit direct-mailing initiative. A literature search was conducted, informing the design of a pilot mailing initiative based on recent studies of direct-mailing FITKit outreach in comparable FQHC’s and safety net institutions. In mid-January, 2019, FITKits with return address labels and postage were mailed to 362 HHHN patients’ homes. The cohort represented a population that was age 50-75, currently failing the CRC screening measure, had not seen a PCP in the last calendar year, had BMI ≥ 30, and had 0-5 comorbidities per a network-wide EMR data search in December, 2018. These mailings were preceded by an introductory email and included a second introductory letter along with the network’s usual ‘FITKit Facts and FAQ’s’ sheet. Mailings were followed by two or more automated phone reminders to complete the screening. Only one month after mailings were released, the network received 26 completed FITKits for processing, representing a 7.14% early return rate for the initiative.
E-cigarette use, also known as Vaping, has garnered national attention over recent years due to its rapidly rising popularity. While some claim it is the healthier alternative to cigarette smoking we need to reduce the 480,000 deaths in the US from smoking-related diseases each year, others warn that its popularity among teens has the potential to undo years of progress combating nicotine addiction and is just another attempt by the tobacco industry to lure a new generation of customers. Given this ongoing public conversation, it is up to health care providers to stay informed on the health effects of vaping and to educate their patients appropriately. This project aimed to synthesize what we currently know about the effects of e-cigarette use for health care providers and to equip them with ways to minimize the harms, while maximizing any potential benefits, of vaping. This presentation demonstrates the effectiveness of that intervention.
How to Improve a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program for Opioid Use Disorder: First, Look at the Evidence
The prevalence of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in the United States has been described as an epidemic, and rural areas have been affected in particular. A treatment paradigm called Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has been demonstrated to be effective at treating OUD, and more and more rural, primary care clinics are establishing MAT programs. One such clinic is Hudson Headwaters Health Network, a FQHC in Upstate New York. I wrote a literature review and distributed it to staff involved in MAT program design, and I also wrote a practical evidence guide for MAT providers. Providers completed a survey assessing the evidence guide.
Khaled H. Al Tawil
Ultrasound has been found to be a valuable diagnostic tool for ruling in or out serious and common medical conditions. The advent of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) provides trained primary care providers the technology to gather immediate data for clinical decision making and to move patient care down the correct clinical pathway in a timely and more cost effective manner. This tool has been shown to assist in motivational interviewing by giving real time evidence to the patient. This technology has the potential to significantly enhance access for patients in rural communities where diagnostic centers and specialty care can be geographically and financially challenging.
The purpose of this retrospective study is to identify the benefits of the use of handheld ultrasound versus in the rural Primary Care setting to rule in/rule out specific diagnoses: The scope of diagnoses or ruled out pathologies for the purpose of this study will consist of the following: Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)/Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)/Joint Effusion/Hydronephrosis/ Tendinopathy/ Thyroid disease/ Cysts--specifically subdural or liver cyst/Rotator cuff injury/ Cholecystitis.
POCUS was introduced in the Hudson Headwaters Network in 2015 when the Network purchased units for their primary and urgent care clinics and trained clinicians began providing this service at no cost to patients. This quality improvement project is a retrospective chart review to document time to diagnosis, time to initiation of intervention if appropriate, any additional diagnostic evaluation, related subspecialty referrals and care and location of any out of office care provided in relation to site where POCUS was performed.
Smoking rates nationally have declined over the past several decades, however, tobacco use in the North Country of upstate New York remains higher than the national average. Group discussion programs have been shown to be more effective for smoking cessation than pharmacologic efforts alone. A 7-week smoking cessation support group was started in Glens Falls, New York using the Butt Stops Here curriculum. Participants were encouraged to also use pharmacologic methods as directed by their medical providers. Participants completed a brief survey before and after the program. Participants generally felt less motivated, but more equipped to quit after the seven weeks. One participant out of eight was able to quit entirely and 7/8 participants were able to decrease their level of tobacco use. A larger sample size is needed before conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of this smoking cessation support group.
High-dose influenza vaccines are approved by the FDA for use in adults 65 years and older and have been shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality of influenza. However, the pharmacy manager and infection preventionist at Inland Hospital in Waterville, Maine identified the vaccine was not widely utilized at the institution's out-patient practices. This project reviewed the current literature on the high-dose vaccination and provided an educational presentation to family doctors about the evidence supporting the use of the high-dose vaccination. Data were collected from each practice of the number of high-dose influenza vaccines administered in the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 flu seasons.
Sunit K. Misra
Children who are unsupervised after school are most likely to get involved with activities that negatively affect their outcomes as an adult. This project seeks to engage children by adding value to an after school program. These programs help build lifelong skills. More specifically this focused on nutritional health of elementary school aged children.
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