Purpose: Colorectal cancer screening is the most underused cancer screening tool in the United States. The purpose of this study was to test whether a health care provider-directed intervention increased colorectal cancer screening rates. Patients and Methods: The study was a randomized controlled trial conducted at two clinic firms at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The records of 5,711 patients were reviewed; 1,978 patients were eligible. Eligible patients were men aged 50 years and older who had no personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, had not received colorectal cancer screening, and had at least one visit to the clinic during the study period. Health care providers in the intervention firm attended a workshop on colorectal cancer screening. Every 4 to 6 months, they attended quality improvement workshops where they received group screening rates, individualized confidential feedback, and training on improving communication with patients with limited literacy skills. Medical records were reviewed for colorectal cancer screening recommendations and completion. Literacy level was assessed in a subset of patients. Results: Colorectal cancer screening was recommended for 76.0% of patients in the intervention firm and for 69.4% of controls (P = .02). Screening tests were completed by 41.3% of patients in the intervention group versus 32.4% of controls (P = .003). Among patients with health literacy skills less than ninth grade, screening was completed by 55.7% of patients in the intervention group versus 30% of controls (P < .01). Conclusion: A provider-directed intervention with feedback on individual and firm-specific screening rates significantly increased both recommendations and colorectal cancer screening completion rates among veterans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research