Bolstering the health and wellbeing of regional and remote communities often requires innovative solutions. GPEx and the Jodi Lee Foundation (JLF) have created such a solution by partnering for the past two years to take strides forward in the battle against bowel cancer.
If detected early, more than 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated. However, the average national screening rate – at 40.9% - remains inadequate and is even lower in regional and remote Australia. Increasing participation to 60% would save more than 80,000 lives by 2040.
GPEx and JLF’s innovative solution focussed on primary health care professionals as ideally placed to encourage Australians to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). After all, 83.6% of all Australians visit a General Practitioner each year so GPs and their practice nurses can and must play a central role in increasing NBCSP participation.
GPEx and JLF engaged primary health care professionals in this important work through a comprehensive education program on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).
The collaboration delivered a series of educational webinars targeted at primary health care professionals in regional and remote Australia, as well as the development of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Learning Hub. Each of these initiatives had the ultimate goal of empowering primary health care professionals to have conversations about screening with their patients.
The webinars saw a remarkable turnout, attracting more than 800 registrations over the past two years. Participants learned how to best raise the topic with patients, gained insights into the correct procedure for completing the home test, learned how to order new tests, addressed their knowledge gaps and proactively started conversations.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Learning Hub shines as a beacon of this partnership. The Learning Hub is an online resource designed to equip practitioners with the skills and knowledge they need to support patients in the NBCSP. Keeping the busy schedules of health care professionals in mind, each educational resource is succinct yet informative, maximising learning in a short timeframe. To explore these resources, visit the NBCSP Learning Hub here.
The journey so far has been incredibly rewarding, and data from Kantar Public's Market Research Report further emphasises the profound impact. Post-webinar, there was a substantial rise in the GP's confidence levels when conversing with patients about bowel cancer screening – 83% reported confidence compared to 25% prior to the training.
In addition, the likelihood of health care professionals proactively discussing the NBCSP with patients rose from 51% to 68%. Furthermore, it's inspiring to note that 73% of health professionals reported a shift in their behavioural intent, fostering a stronger belief in the importance of their role in increasing participation for bowel cancer screening.
These numbers clearly show that the collaboration between GPEx and the Jodi Lee Foundation significantly empowered primary health care professionals in under-screened populations. These enhancements not only underscore the potency of our impact, but they also substantially contribute to the broader objective of promoting early detection and prevention of bowel cancer. Our collaboration has led to profound and transformative impacts.
As we look ahead to 2024, our commitment to this cause only strengthens. We strive to build on the achievements of the past two years and continue to kindle positive changes in the health and wellbeing of regional and remote communities.