VA Portland Health Care System
Portland Leads Innovative Lung Cancer Screening
Oregon Veterans Among First in VA to Take Part in Innovative Lung Cancer Screening Program Now Going National
A team of medical personnel with VA Portland Health Care System created a centralized lung cancer screening program that’s saving Veterans’ lives by identifying and treating their early stage lung cancer.
VA leaders recently selected Dr. Christopher G. Slatore, MD, to present his idea during their “Shark Tank” competition; he and his team competed against more than 400 other U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health innovators and were selected to deploy their life-saving program to help Veterans across the VA. Dr. Slatore is a VAPORHCS pulmonary/critical care physician and the Director of Research Education at VAPORHCS’ Research & Development Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC).
The contest, part of VHA Innovation Experience, shines a spotlight on employees who are passionate about solving some of the toughest challenges facing the VA. It also provides them with an opportunity to replicate and scale their practices further, while elevating their platform to all levels of leadership for buy-in.
Dr. Slatore’s idea started within VAPORHCS with one primary care provider in Portland and gradually grew capacity from there. Now, almost all Veterans cared for at VA Portland’s 12-sites of care are systematically assessed and offered lung cancer screening. VA leaders gave him one of the highest vote totals during the competition and now the program is expected to be replicated at other facilities across the VA.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths for Veterans because of their exposures to cigarette smoke and occupational hazards in the military. The centralized lung cancer screening program provides Veterans a highly inclusive, safe, Veteran-centric process that minimizes the burden for primary care providers and increases access to life-saving annual lung cancer screenings.
The centralized, high-quality lung cancer screening program has received:
- Over 4,500 consults;
- Screened over 2,400 Veterans; and
- Detected and treated more than 62 patients with early stage lung cancers.