Improving Screening for Colorectal Cancer in the Primary Care Environment
Colorectal Cancer , Increasing Screenings , Reminder Methods
Background: Colorectal cancer continues to be a significant health problem seen in the primary care environment. Studies indicate that 33% percent of patients in the primary care environment are not being screened appropriately for colorectal cancer. It is estimated that If screening could be increased to over 80% in clinics across the nation 230,000 lives can be saved. Sample/Setting: Rural clinic in southwest MN. 335 participants aged 45-75 in need of colorectal cancer screening. Methods: A chart review was completed to identify those in need of screening. Letters were sent out to participants informing them of the need to be screened. Follow-up electronic reminder chart messages were sent to patients. Social media and media in waiting rooms were also utilized to encourage screening. Results: Of the 335 letters that were sent to patients 8 were returned to the sender. 16 patient screenings were completed with letter-only intervention. 154 my chart messages were sent one month later. 16 patient screenings were completed. 1 patient screening was completed due to media provided in the lobby. In the same 2-month period 20 patients were screened by the current practice of seeing a primary provider for routine check up. Overall, the clinic finished the year at 81% screening rate for all eligible patients. Conclusion: Reaching out to patients with reminders for screening was more effective than previous methods of obtaining colorectal screenings. Over time, more methods can be developed to continue to increase the total number of screenings in eligible populations. Reminder methods like the ones used in this project can be implemented in any type of cancer screening and will help lower the burden of cancer in this country.
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