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The Impact of Customizing Annual Breast Screenings

– Published on January 9, 2019

The Impact of Customizing Annual Breast Screenings Based on a Patient’s Breast Density

Dr. Cathrine Keller is the President and Managing Physician of Lake Medical Imaging, a full-service diagnostic imaging practice. In partnership with Central Florida Health, Lake Medical Imaging was the nation’s first outpatient imaging center to be designated a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Also an ACR Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, the group includes 25 board-certified radiologists across five large imaging centers, one in Leesburg and four in The Villages.

In this interview with Volpara Solutions, Dr. Keller shares her award-winning efforts to educate women and the referring physician community about the implications of dense breast tissue.

Volpara: First, congratulations on your award. Can you tell us more about it?

Dr. Keller: Thank you. Radiology Business Journal recently launched its Imaging Innovation Awards, which are open to “all private radiology practices and hospital radiology departments that had recently completed a project combining creative thinking with coordinated teamwork to develop a notably original breakthrough in some aspect of medical imaging”. I had the honor of accepting the Imaging Innovation Award for my entry, “Informing Patients on Breast Density and Why It Matters,” at this year’s Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting in Chicago.

Volpara: Why did you undertake this effort of informing patients on breast density?

Dr. Keller: I believe it is vitally important to educate women about the increased breast cancer risk posed by dense breast tissue. The entire breast care team needs to help patients with dense breast tissue understand the options available to them in order to increase the chances of detecting or finding breast cancer.

Volpara: How did you go about educating patients?

Dr. Keller: We took a three-prong approach to educating patients.

First and most important, on the day of the mammography exam, our radiologists inform their patients of their breast density classification and offer breast screening options that consider individual risk factors. With VolparaDensity software, our radiologists have access to an automated, objective tool to assess breast density that helps them deliver consistent information to our patients while also making evidence-based recommendations for additional breast imaging.

Second, we took a proactive, outreach approach to deliver educational materials to the broader community. We developed blog and social media posts with illustrated fact sheets. These posts received thousands of hits and directed visitors to the Lakeside Medical Imaging website, which features a link from the home page to more information. I also presented several seminars to help spread the word on the crucial role of breast density in breast cancer risk and detection.

And third, we didn’t stop with patients. Through lunches and educational materials, we educated local referring physicians about the importance of informing patients about their breast density classification.

Volpara: What impact have you seen from this initiative?

Dr. Keller: Combined, all these efforts helped us increase patient and referring physician satisfaction with the entire breast cancer screening experience. This also improved our patient and referring physician loyalty. From a business perspective, this translates into more referrals. Being able to recommend the right women to additional imaging based on density and individual risk factors also increases our supplemental imaging volume, leading to a higher cancer-detection rate.

Volpara: What is next for Lake Medical Imaging?

Dr. Keller: Lake Medical Imaging is known in the region as an innovator. We were the first practice to deploy a full range of the latest breast imaging technology, including VolparaDensity software, so we could customize annual breast screenings based on each patient’s breast density. For us, it is imperative that we continue our leadership role in creating and maintaining a culture that uses the best methods and advances our field has to offer while always treating our patients and employees like family.

Lake Medical Imaging
The Villages: Sharon Morse Medical Center • Lake Sumter Landing • Colony Plaza • Mulberry Grove