SAN ANTONIO – Colon cancer screening rates can be increased through patient education, decision support tools, patient outreach, electronic flags, and free screening for uninsured patients, according to research presented at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 2016 National Conference.

Current colon cancer screening rates range from 35% to 65%. However, Healthy People 2020 has a goal of 70.5%, indicating a need to increase screening rates.

To see if a multi-level intervention could increase colon cancer screening rates, the researchers implemented the intervention in 3 primary care clinics. The intervention included the following components:

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  • PowerPoint presentation at each clinic where staff could learn about the intervention and ask questions
  • Patient mailings including a letter and brochure with information on screening, its importance, frequently asked questions, and a description of an automated phone system where patients could request screening
  • Automated phone system for patients to choose type of screening
  • Outreach by clinic staff with phone calls, emails, and postcards to remind patients to complete screening
  • Electronic flags to providers on day of patient visit to remind them to discuss screening
  • Outreach workers enrolling uninsured patients in the FIT at Fifty HealthCheck Program to help cover the cost of screening

Initially, 1956 patients were eligible for screening, with 1842 remaining eligible at the completion of the study. The pre-intervention screening rate was 52.0%. During the study, the rate was 11.2%, and the post-intervention rate was 58.7%, indicating an improvement of 6.7%. The results were consistent across all 3 clinics.

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  1. Florea K, Novosel L, Schlenk EA. Improvement in colon cancer screening through use of a multi-level intervention: a QI initiative. Poster 219. Presented at: the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 2016 National Conference; June 21-26, 2016; San Antonio, TX.