Background: Lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of all tumor sites.1 Ocala Health launched a Lung Nodule Program in October 2019, with a programmatic goal of diagnosing lung cancer at an early stage I or II by identifying incidental lung nodules in the emergency room patients, and by providing care coordination to ensure timely postdischarge follow-up. In February 2020, questions and feedback from patients and healthcare providers revealed scarce knowledge of the program and its benefits to the community, presenting an opportunity to educate these stakeholders and close the knowledge gap surrounding the program.
Objectives: To increase community stakeholders’ awareness, understanding, and engagement with Ocala Health’s Lung Nodule Program, and how it coordinates care to diagnose lung cancer in its earliest stages.
Methods: Six educational presentations (3 in person; 3 virtual) were delivered to healthcare providers and community members between February 2020 and March 2020. The presented information included lung cancer facts/statistics, programmatic goals of the Lung Nodule Program, how care coordination in the program works, and early results since the program launch. At the end of each presentation, participants completed an evaluation. The questions were focused toward the audience (healthcare providers vs community members), the evaluations were similar, surrounding the presentation’s content and its impact on how the participants will engage with the program going forward. A survey was provided and used a 5-point scale for results.
Results: Providers unanimously strongly agreed (average score of 5) that the Lung Nodule Program will be of benefit to their patients, themselves, or a friend/family member; that they gained a better understanding with new and helpful information about lung cancer risks, detection, and mortality; that the presentation provided information and tools that will enhance patient care within their practice; and that the presentation will impact their referral pattern for low-dose CT lung screening and/or hospital follow-up for incidental lung nodule findings. Also, providers strongly agreed (average score of 4.9) that the presentation provided better understanding with new and helpful information about criteria and issuing orders for low-dose CT lung screening.
Prior to attending the program, community members strongly disagreed (average score of 1.5) that they were aware of Ocala Health’s Lung Nodule Program and the low-dose CT lung screening as a lung cancer screening exam. After the program, community members strongly agreed (average score of 4.5) that they will be discussing low-dose CT lung screening with a healthcare provider for themselves, a friend, or a family member. They agreed (average score of 4.1) that Ocala Health’s Lung Nodule Program will be of benefit to them, a friend, or a family member.
Conclusion: The education provided insight into a new program in the community, creating excitement about its benefits, and inciting conversations surrounding lung cancer screening between provider and patient. Anecdotally, engagement between the lung nodule coordinator and the providers’ offices became more collaborative with care coordination. This validated the best practice of outreach and education with our healthcare providers and community stakeholders.
- American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2020. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-can cer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2020.html. Accessed July 30, 2020.