New Screening Guidelines by the American Urologic Association Committee

Bal Carter, a key member of the Hopkins inHealth Cancer Screening Pilot program called inCAS is quoted in the Friday  May 4, 2013 New York Times: “It is time to reflect on how we screen men for prostate cancer and take a more select approach in order to maximize benefit and minimize harms”.  Bal chaired the American Urologic Association committee that on Friday disseminated new screening guidelines.  He flew to San Diego to participate in the AUA press conference.

One new guideline is that PSA testing is only appropriate for men 55 to 69. The AUA committee found that outside that age group,  there is simply not compelling evidence that the benefits of detecting life-threatening prostate cancers outweigh the harms of false positive findings that can cause unnecessary biopsies or treatments.

These guidelines are a demonstration of one way in which the appropriate analysis and use of health information can improve individual and population health.  But to have their full effect, the guidelines must be followed, and we must capture the necessary data to refine them over time.

Hopkins inHealth will build on this crucial first step by:

Bal Carter is an inHealth leader because he understands the essential role that population data, carefully analyzed and interpreted, plays in providing the best possible cancer screening and care tailored to the needs of an individual. These guidelines start with age to determine the appropriate action; let’s keep going to intelligently use other essential health information to individualize health.

  1. Designing and partnering with JHHS to design and implement decision support tools so that these and other guidelines are known at the point of patient-clinician decision making about cancer screening
  2. “Individualizing” screening guidelines so that they take into account other known factors about each individual beyond their age, including their family history, life-expectancy, and as soon as actionable, genomic signatures.
  3. Building a “health learning community” of JHHS covered-individuals and patients so that we continuously learn about how to more effectively screen for cancer, improving our algorithms over time.

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