How to Increase Women’s Participation in Health Screenings

Why women skip health screenings and strategies to increase routine participation.

Today, 30% of women have never visited or consulted with an obstetrician or gynecologist, and only 40% of women visit or consult with an obstetrician or a gynecologist once a year. It has become a trend for women to not participate in health screenings, but why? The five most important health screenings all women should have regularly are: heart screenings, mammograms, pelvic exam/pap smears, bone density tests, and skin exams.

Here are the 5 reasons women skip care:

  1. Expense: More than one-third of women in the US skip care because of cost.
  2. Discomfort: Many women fear the screenings maybe painful.
  3. Fear: Many women are afraid of receiving bad news. They do not want to acknowledge the possibility that their screening results could be abnormal.
  4. Age: Many women have the misconception that screening isn’t necessary until after the age of 35.
  5. Time: Balancing work and a family life is a struggle, setting aside the time for a health screening may seem impossible.

Here are the top 3 strategies proven to increase the percentage of women participating in routine screening.

1. Decrease frequency of delays generated by high patient volume.

Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania conducted a system of flow mapping by studying timing of patient visits. Staff charted when patients arrive, when they see the doctor, when the interaction with the doctor ends and when they leave the practice. With the results, they were able to streamline the appointment process and create a more efficient office.

These small changes in patient flow rewarded Hershey Medical Center with reduced wait times and greater satisfaction for their patients.

2. Implement direct communication between the patient and provider.

Blackstone Valley Community Health Care implemented the Patient Portal System as a way to establish a direct line of communication with their patients. This secure messaging function allows patients to email questions, request prescription refills, and schedule appointments. The provider can work more efficiently by responding to messages in between seeing patients, send post visit clinical summaries and send lab results via an attachment.

Clinicians and staff quickly noticed a reduced call volume, better informed, and more engaged patients. Patients appreciate having an alternative to using BVHC’S busy call center to reach providers.

3. Bundle clinical preventive services.

In semi-rural Connecticut, Douglas Shenson completed a study on the effectiveness of bundling preventive services in women’s health. Nine influenza clinics were included in the study, only four clinics offered women the option to sign up for a mammogram in addition to their influenza vaccination.

The results showed that women who were informed about and offered a mammogram were twice as likely to receive a mammogram; whereas women attending clinics where the sign up was not offered were not likely to seek the service.

These examples of increased efficiency can potentially help your organization increase engagement from women and encourage them to consider screening on a regular basis.

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As Senior Vice President, Maggie oversees several key specialty divisions and adjacent teams. With a demonstrated history of leading teams and developing individuals across the organization, she is dedicated to inspiring, challenging and empowering associates to achieve their personal and professional goals. 

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