For Immediate Release
January 21, 2010
Contact Information

HealthPartners Medical Group
Joe Dangor

(BPRW) HealthPartners Medical Group launches initiative to improve Colorectal cancer screening rates for African American patients

Technology, customized reminders target health disparities to save lives

( BLACK PR WIRE ) (January 21, 2010) MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- HealthPartners Medical Group today announced that it has launched an initiative aimed at saving lives by providing more timely colorectal cancer screening for African American patients. Organizations such as the American College of Gastroenterology recommend that regular colorectal cancer screening for African Americans should begin at age 45, compared to age 50 for other races.�

The initiative uses HealthPartners electronic medical record and�race information, provided by patients, to automatically generate reminders to African American patients to have a colonoscopy when they turn 45, and then at regular intervals through age 80.�

Nationally, colorectal cancer deaths are 48 percent higher among African Americans than among Caucasians, said Brian Rank, M.D. an oncologist and medical director of the HealthPartners Medical Group. Our goal is to save lives by ensuring that more African American patients in our clinics receive recommended colorectal cancer screening in a timely manner.�

In addition to generating automatic reminders for patients to come in for preventive screenings, such as a colonoscopy, mammogram or PAP test, HealthPartners electronic medical record also uses language preference information. This information helps clinic staff to provide better care and support for patients who by virtue of their language -- may have unique needs, said Rank.�

For example, language preference information helps caregivers know when they will need to have an interpreter participate in an appointment for particular patient or when a particular patient will require health education in their native language.�

We have made reducing health disparities a top priority, said Rank. Our ability to systematically customize care across our clinics for specific groups of patients would not be possible without our electronic medical record and the race and language preference data provided by our patients.�

Rank said HealthPartners Clinics have collected race data on 90 percent of patients and language preference on 100 percent of patients since they began collecting this data in 2004.�

HealthPartners Medical Group
HealthPartners family of care includes the HealthPartners Medical Group and Clinics, a 700 physician multi-specialty practice serving patients at more than 50 HealthPartners, RiverWay and North Suburban clinics and at Regions Hospital, Hudson Hospital and Clinics and Westfields Hospital. Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners ( family of health care companies serves 1.25 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide and is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation, providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community.