New guidelines for cervical cancer screening

Deanna TeohIn 2012, new national guidelines were released for cervical cancer screening. The guidelines significantly increase the recommended time between tests and suggest that certain groups of women forego screening.

In spite of these recommendations, many health care providers have not changed their practices. Masonic Scholar Deanna Teoh, M.D., is working to determine how widespread this resistance is, identify barriers to adherence, and improve compliance.

Teoh—an obstetrics and gynecology faculty member—is currently exploring screening practices within University of Minnesota Health clinics. She and her team are quantifying the number of women who receive unnecessary screenings and are leading focus groups to understand why health care providers deviate from national guidelines.

“Support from Minnesota Masonic Charities has allowed me to launch my research career.”

They also are evaluating the impact of Best Practice Alerts at two University clinics. When a Pap test is ordered for patients who don’t meet cervical cancer screening criteria, an alert on the patient’s record warns the provider. After completing this pilot study, Teoh hopes to test and implement Best Practice Alerts in University and Fairview Health Services clinics throughout the state.

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