Student Research: Streamlining Breast Health Care in Kamloops

Southern Medical Program Student Research Profile

Kaitlin Toplak, Southern Medical Program Class of 2022
Research Supervisor(s): Dr. Anise Barton and Dr. Elizabeth Ewart
Funding: Summer Student Research Project, Southern Medical Program

Tell us about your research project.

Streamlining care for breast health patients, the Rae Fawcett Breast Health Centre (RFBHC) in Kamloops, BC, acts as a “one-stop shop” providing single visit triple assessment. This assessment includes clinical exam, diagnostic imagining and, when appropriate, tissue biopsy. Even though the benefits of a multidisciplinary clinic have been proven in other facets, this local clinic has yet to be evaluated for its efficacy. Using patient surveys, small group feedback sessions, and data from a retrospective chart analysis, clinic quality measures such as wait times and patient satisfaction were examined. Our findings allowed us to determine clinic performance as well as provide guidance for future quality improvement initiatives.

What were the results and potential impact?

Establishment of the RFBHC has led to significant reduction of wait times, most notably with a 24-day decrease from the time of symptoms to treatment. Patient satisfaction was also at an all-time high, with 91% rating their experience “excellent” and the rest “good” or “very good.” Taken together, this coordinated care centre has decreased delays for cancer diagnosis and provided safe, quality, and timely care.

We anticipate this study will highlight the importance of BHCs as well as offering a better understanding of experiences faced by rural and remote patients in accessing traditional services. This opportunity will showcase research that is done locally, driven from a community need, and recognizes the healthcare professionals at RIH for their meaningful work.