Increasing Cancer Genetic Referrals via Best Practice Alerts (BPA)

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2024-03-21

ORCID

0009-0006-4002-6020 (Reddy, Priyanka)

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Background: Germline genetic testing (GT) is recommended for all patients (pts) with pancreatic cancer (PC). However, genetic referral (GR) rates for PC are low even at academic centers; there is a paucity of literature at safety-net hospitals (SNH) which often treat higher percentages of cancers at advanced stages. Providers focus on the challenging treatment of PC and may not prioritize GT referrals. Technology can be adapted to aid in this process. Best practice alerts (BPA) built in Electronic Medical Records (EMR) can prompt providers to place GR order. We initiated BPA at John Peter Smith (JPS) hospital, a SNH in Texas, and evaluated if the BPA improved referral patterns. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted using JPS tumor registry data. We studied pts diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (AC) or neuroendocrine tumors (NET) from 1/1/2018 to 4/30/2023 at JPS. BPA go-live date was 10/19/2022. Data Analytics team queried EMR regarding GR, if pts completed their genetics encounter (GE), and GT. Statistical analysis using a two-tailed T test was performed. Results: 162 PC pts were identified: 155 (96%) AC and 7 (4%) NET, and the median age was 59 years. A majority of patients were diagnosed in house (114/162, 70%), while the rest were referred to JPS after diagnosis elsewhere. A total of 57 pts were excluded due to being placed on hospice, death within 3 months of diagnosis, or refusing oncology services at JPS. 105 pts were included for analyses: 96 were diagnosed with PC before the BPA go-live date (pre-BPA) and 9 after the BPA go-live date (post-BPA). 36 (38%) pts were referred pre-BPA. 23 pre-BPA pts completed GE, median of 15 days from referral. 7 out of 9 (78%) pts received GR post-BPA. Post-BPA pts were all referred due to BPA triggers being fired. 2 post-BPA pts completed GE with a median time of 27.5 days from GR. Since launching the BPA, a statistically significant increase in GR has been observed (p=0.0187). 2 pre-BPA pts who completed GT were found to have a pathogenic variant. Conclusions: BPA has shown a significant improvement in GR for PC. At the recent 2024 quarterly JPS Cancer Committee meeting, we found an update of considerable improvement in genetic referrals, with 83% of new pancreatic cancers receiving genetic referrals in 2023 compared to only 35% in 2022.Our study population is limited by rarity of PC, and the BPA alert is set to only fire for pts receiving oncology care at JPS. We noted a large number of pre-BPA pts that have yet to be referred and remain at risk. We plan to have a process to notify these pts’ providers to refer them to genetic testing. For future studies, we will analyze pts with other cancer diagnoses to continue to improve upon the GR process. Authors: Priyanka Reddy, Jacqueline Mersch, Melissa Howell, Jolonda Bullock, Brian Reys, Parker Read, Nitin Rajpurohit, Bassam Ghabach, Kalyani Narra

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