Fall 2004

H e a l t h   P r o m o t i o n
Cervical screening success in Springdale

Dr. Frank Hicks

It is always a challenge to incorporate new initiatives into a busy practice, but the clinic in Springdale area has had great success in increasing cervical screening.

     It is always a challenge to incorporate new initiatives into a busy practice, but the clinic in Springdale area has had great success in increasing cervical screening. Springdale and surrounding communities have experienced significant gains in Pap test rates in the past year (see chart below).

Springdale Area Pap Test Rates   2002 2003
Little Bay 31% 36%
King's Point 30% 37%
Little Bay Island 28% 37%
South Brook 27% 37%
Springdale 27% 30%

     Dr. Frank Hicks, a general practitioner at the Green Bay Community Health Centre, believes there are several important factors contributing to the increased screening rates. While a personal reminder to each woman was generally successful, last year Dr. Hicks introduced a new system of chart tagging to assist with the reminder process. Individual stickers on the patient’s file indicate the date of last Pap smear, hysterectomy status and the date due for the next Pap smear.
     In addition to chart tagging, Dr. Hicks noted a number of other factors that have contributed to the increase in the number of women being screened.
     “Lily LeDrew, health promotion coordinator with the local health and community services branch, is doing health promotion, particularly with women’s health issues. She’s been doing women’s health forums every year and she also works with us to promote advertised Pap smear clinics.” This partnership with Health and Community Services Central has made a significant contribution to encouraging more women to be screened, commented Dr. Hicks.
     “I also trained our two public health nurses to do Pap smears. I supervised them and they had support from Health and Community Services Central. I refer patients to them who are reluctant to see me, especially young girls,” said Dr. Hicks, referring to the reluctance young women often have to see a male physician for cervical screening.
     The third contributor to increasing screening rates is the addition of a female physician to the practice. “Dr. Ashilla Parag came here two years ago,” said Dr. Hicks, giving women who prefer to see a female physician that option at the Springdale clinic.
     “I try to do the recommended screening on my patients,” concluded Dr. Hicks, who added that provincial guidelines on the recommended screening are needed.

Clinical Management Guidelines
     A copy of the Clinical Management Guidelines for Cervical Screening, a quick reference tool designed to hang on your clinic wall, is included in this issue of Nexus (see "Inserts" in the sidebar). The guidelines include recommendations on screening and management for cervical cancer.
     To order additional copies of the Clinical Management Guidelines for Cervical Screening, or to get further information about chart tagging, contact the Provincial Coordinating Office of the Cervical Screening Initiatives Program at 866-643-8719 or e-mail joannerose@hcsw.nf.ca.

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Nexus DEFINED
A connected group or series; a bond, a connection.

Nexus is published quarterly for Newfoundland and Labrador's physicians. It is a forum for the exchange of views, ideas and information for members.