While waiting at the pharmacy, or for their appointments with the OB/GYN clinic at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., patients now have something more beneficial than a magazine to help pass the time.
In both locations, freestanding breast cancer kiosks invite passers-by to find out about their personal risk for breast cancer or learn how to perform a breast self-exam. These innovative, educational devices take advantage of what Helen McGregor, DSN, MS, MSN, calls a captive audience.
“These are the first kiosks of their type at our medical center,” McGregor said. “Both the pharmacy and the OB/GYN clinic have plenty of traffic, so anyone waiting for an appointment or a prescription can use it.” Madigan Healthcare System’s total population, including active military and their dependents, is about 100,000.
McGregor is coordinator for Madigan Healthcare System’s high-risk breast cancer screening program. She said many people seem to be drawn to the kiosks, where they use the Gail Risk Assessment scale to check their own risk for breast cancer, learn disease statistics, or increase their knowledge of the disease and its prevention. The base’s information management division oversees the functioning of the kiosks.Helen McGregor, RN
The Gail Risk Assessment is a breast cancer risk assessment tool designed by Mitchell Gail, MD, PhD. According to the National Cancer Institute, the model uses a woman’s medical history (number of previous breast biopsies and the presence of atypical hyperplasia in any previous breast biopsy specimen), her reproductive history (age at the start of menstruation and age at the first live birth of a child), and the history of breast cancer among her first-degree relatives (mother, sisters and daughters) to estimate her risk of developing invasive breast cancer during specific periods of time.
Breast cancer survivor’s legacy
The kiosks were dedicated Sept. 7 and funded by the Madigan Foundation in memory of Nancy Dickson. She was a breast cancer survivor and died in 2009. McGregor said Dickson was keenly committed to educating people at risk for breast cancer. Donations made in her honor funded both kiosks. The foundation also underwrites projects such as educational materials, and special camisoles for patients after breast cancer surgery. Dickson was a deeply committed member of the Foundation herself.
As of Nov. 14, the kiosks were accessed more than 500 times, and about 100 people had used the risk calculator. McGregor said she can’t pinpoint specific who have come to the high-risk screening program as a result of information they found on the kiosk. She said the base’s primary care providers are aware of high-risk breast screening, so it is hoped that if patients visit a primary care provider as a result of what they encountered at a kiosk, it will be noted.
Freestanding interactive cancer screening tools, such as the Madigan kiosks, have been tested and are being used in a variety of locations around the U.S., including among populations where disease information is poorly disseminated or where risk is high.
McGregor is hopeful the interactive kiosks will prove useful in improving breast cancer prevention and early treatment.
“I think these [kiosks] are very valuable. In our high risk-screening program, patients have to enter our portal. We have to depend on doctors identifying patients in their clinic. When you have a population meandering in and out of clinics and the pharmacy, these kiosks clearly broaden the exposure for people getting educated about their breast cancer risk, and to get information for their healthcare.”