New Member’s Routine Checkup Leads to Early Breast Cancer Diagnosis


Innovative Workflow Shows How Our Integrated Care Model Excels

Screening mammography plays a critical role in reducing breast cancer mortality – especially when caught early and when treatment can have the best chance of success.

On March 15, a new member arriving for her first appointment at one of our Kaiser Permanente medical centers experienced just how effective our integrated, patient-centered approach is to delivering excellent health care.

The patient arrived with her daughter for an appointment with her primary care physician just before 10 a.m., and was quickly referred to one of our experienced mammography technologists for a routine mammogram.

While performing the mammogram, the technologist astutely observed a finding suspicious for possible breast cancer and brought it to the attention of the radiologist, who then sent the patient for ultrasound and performed a biopsy that same day.

Because the MAPMG Department of Imaging Services uses “reflex ordering,” a workflow which can be supported only within an integrated delivery system such as ours, this was able to be done immediately and without the need for the referring physician to enter a separate order for additional imaging and breast biopsy.

Two hours later the patient had completed a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, and ultrasound-guided biopsy and was on her way home with her daughter.

“I can’t believe we saw my mom’s PCP for a routine check-up this morning, we got her first mammogram today, your team did a biopsy this afternoon and we get the results tomorrow,” said the patient’s daughter.

A day following a routine visit to her primary care physician, this new member received the unfortunate pathologic diagnosis of breast cancer, from her breast biopsy radiologist, due to the dedicated care provided by a team of Breast Imaging technologists, radiologists and pathologists working side by side. She can now go on to definitive treatment from our team of experienced surgeons and oncologists.

This story is not unique – it plays out each and every day across our region. It is the kind of world-class compassionate care that has led Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States to be No. 1-rated health care organization in breast cancer screening in the United States.

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