Early appointments mean better care from your GP
2019-05-13 from cbc.ca
If your family doctor or nurse practitioner doesn't screen you for cancer, you might be tempted to choose a new health professional. Or, you might just want to change the time of your appointment. That timely bit of wisdom comes from a recent study published recently in JAMA Network Open.
Time of day may be critical to whether or not patients get screening for cancer by their primary care physician. That's the main conclusion of a study by Dr. Mitesh Patel and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. The researchers looked at 33 primary care practices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
During the study period, there were 19,254 patients who met U.S. eligibility requirements for breast cancer screening. At 8 a.m., 63.7 per cent of eligible patients got screened for breast cancer. At 11 a.m., just 48.7 per cent got screened. At noon, the number screened went back up to 56.2 per cent. At 5 p.m., just 47.8 per cent of patients got screened for breast cancer, which was the lowest percentage of the entire day.
In other words, women eligible for breast cancer screening were most likely to get the scans within a year if they booked an 8 a.m. appointment and were least likely to get screened if they came at 5 p.m.
To see whether there was something unique about breast cancer screening that made the time of day a factor, the researchers also looked at screening for colorectal cancer. Just over 33,000 patients in the study were eligible for colorectal cancer screening. Essentially, they saw the same phenomenon. At 8 a.m., 36.5 per cent of eligible patients got screened. That figure decreased to 31.3 per cent at 11 a.m. before increasing to 34.4 per cent at noon. At 5 p.m., just 23.4 per cent got screening. The daily variation was similar to that seen with breast cancer screening.
Patients were most likely to get screening for colorectal cancer if they booked an 8 a.m. appointment and far less likely to get screened if they booked a 5 p.m. appointment.
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