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Cancer screening, Cervical cancer, Electronic medical record, Pap test



  1. Franklin, Mary DNP, CNM
  2. Webel, Allison PhD, RN
  3. Kaelber, David MD, PhD, MPH, MS, FAAP, FACP, FACMI
  4. Evans, Jill MSN, RN-BC
  5. Kelley, Carol PhD, RN, CNP


Appropriately matching preventive health services and screenings with patient risk is an important quality indicator. Adherence by both providers and patients to cervical cancer screening guidelines has been inconsistent, resulting in overscreening and increased costs. This study examined the prevalence of cervical cancer overscreening following changes in screening guidelines in a wellness registry database. Cervical cancer overscreening after guideline implementation decreased for 18- to 20-year-old patients from 26.8% to 24.8% (P < .001) and increased for those aged 65 years and older from 11.1% to 12.5% (P = .0005). Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, Medicaid insurance, and the presence of a personal health record were associated with overscreening. Reliability and accuracy of data are a concern when data intended for one purpose, such as clinical care, are used for research. Correctly identifying screening tests in the electronic health record is important so that appropriate screening can be reliably assessed. In this study on the prevalence of cervical cancer overscreening, we used a focused chart review to identify whether screening Pap tests were accurately identified in the electronic medical record. Pap tests were correctly identified as screening in 85% of those aged 18 to 20, and in 74% of those aged 65 and older.