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Update for Providers: Temple Healthy Chest Initiative’s Dual Screening Referral Process

Annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening of the chest is becoming a globally recognized tool to diagnose lung cancer at an earlier stage — significantly improving patient outcomes and survival rates. Despite lung cancer and COPD sharing common risks, COPD being an independent risk factor for lung cancer development, and COPD being the major comorbidity affecting survival in lung cancer patients, both COPD and lung cancer are underdiagnosed and therefore untreated at early stages, limiting curative treatment options. 

Studies that have recorded patient symptoms and performance of spirometry at the time of LDCT lung cancer screening have reported airflow limitation in 34-57% of individuals, emphysema in 68-73% and no prior diagnosis of COPD in 67%. Performing a “lung health check” in individuals undergoing LDCT for lung cancer screening presents a unique opportunity to simultaneously screen patients for any unrecognized symptoms of COPD, the presence of airflow limitation, structural airways abnormalities (e.g., bronchiectasis, airway wall thickening, mucus plugging) and emphysema.

The updated GOLD 2023 Guidelines advise the inclusion of spirometry as a standard of care for accurate measurement of lung function, as evidence is emerging this leads to more appropriate treatment for COPD patients. The Temple Healthy Chest Initiative is addressing this gap in care by simultaneously screening patients for COPD, lung cancer, and other chest conditions.

Our Process: 

  • Referred patients receive LDCT and a spirometry screening at a Temple location convenient to them — typically at the same appointment. 
  • A Temple radiologist reads the CT scan and generates a report, and a nurse navigator ensures that every report is reviewed and submitted to the patient and the referring physician
  • The nurse navigator meets with the patient to explain the CT scan results, answer questions, and outline next steps to coordinate regular surveillance consistent with the latest United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations and Lung-RADS classification system.
  • If there are findings that require follow-up, the patient is referred to the appropriate Temple specialist. Streamlined care is provided to cases requiring expedited support through concierge scheduling protocols and nurse navigator support.

Paired screenings through the Temple Healthy Chest Initiative are now available at Temple Health - Chestnut Hill Hospital.

Now Pairing Spirometry With Initial LDCT

The Temple Healthy Chest Initiative is now streamlining access to care by pairing spirometry screenings with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans in a single patient appointment. 

Performing spirometry alongside LDCT screening to simultaneously screen patients for both the presence of unrecognized symptoms of COPD and airflow obstruction presents a unique opportunity to catch disease at an earlier state, lending to increased options and improved outcomes for treatment. 

How to Refer  

When you identify a patient eligible for LDCT, write an order for CT CHEST LOW DOSE SCREENING FOR LUNG CANCER & Spiro. Physicians and patients can also call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED or schedule an appointment online.

Questions About Referrals?

The Temple Lung Center’s dedicated key account managers are always available to assist you with the needs of your patients requiring specialty services or advanced care.

T.K. Broderic
Director, External Accounts