Step 1: Understand your under-screened patient population

steps This section covers the following steps:

Step 1.1 Review your lists of under-screened patients
Step 1.2 Seek patient input

Good preventative care relies on being able to stand back from individual patients in order to understand your practice population and their needs.13

Module 3 guided you through how to extract lists of patients who are overdue for bowel, breast and cervical screening. Module 4 presents an opportunity to analyse your lists of under-screened patients to identify if there are specific patient populations in your practice who are under-screened.

Success in practice:

Success in practice:

“We were able to identify our least screened group (as a result of data cleaning). It was quite surprising, as it turned out to be women with intellectual disabilities.”[42]

- Practice Manager, AB Surgery, West Kempsey, NSW

Step 1.1 Review your lists of under-screened patients

Can you answer the following questions about your under-screened patients?*

  • What is the age distribution of these patients?
  • To what ethnic, cultural and language groups do these patients belong?
  • What other groups do these patients represent? (e.g. LGBTIQ+ patients, patients who live remotely, patients with disabilities, refugee groups, groups facing socioeconomic disadvantage)?

You will be able to answer some of these questions through practice data, but working with your PHN is also a great way to:

  • access and understand demographic and needs assessment data relevant to your local area
  • build linkages to local community groups and organisations.

* These questions are adapted from ‘Who are your patients’, pg. 16 of the RACGP’s Putting Prevention into Practice.

Step 1.2 Seek patient input

Criterion QI 1.2 of the RACGP’s Standards for General Practice 5th Edition requires practices to collect and respond to patient feedback.14

Patient feedback will assist your practice to:

  • understand what gets in the way of your patients participation in screening
  • identify actions that your practice can take to make cancer screening:
    • safe and comfortable
    • understandable
    • accessible for your patients.

The RACGP’s Patient feedback guide is a comprehensive guide to methods for collecting and acting on patient feedback.