Public Health and Primary CareOriginal Article

Quality Improvement Measures for Increasing the Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates at a Community Health Center

Helen Hill, OMS IV; Beth Johnson, OMS IV; Lindsey Jader, OMS IV; Minder Bal, OMS IV; William Wang, OMS IV; Shipra Bansal, MD; and Joy H. Lewis, DO, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: August 24, 2015

Published: December 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(12): e20-e24

Context: Direct recommendation from health care professionals has been shown to generally increase colorectal cancer screening rates in the United States. However, data for rural, underserved communities are limited.

Objectives: To increase colorectal cancer screening rates at a rural community health center (CHC) by increasing health care professionals’ awareness of patients’ screening eligibility.

Methods: Participants were health care professionals at a CHC treating patients eligible for colorectal cancer screening (defined as patients aged 50-74 years who visited the CHC between February 24, 2014, and March 15, 2014, and whose electronic medical records [EMRs] had no recording of colorectal cancer screening). For a 3-week period, these participants added electronic reminders to eligible patients’ EMRs. Data reports for the screening rates of each participant, in addition to the overall CHC, were generated 4 weeks after the study period and compared with screening rates in 2013.

Results: Five health care professionals volunteered to participate. No statistically significant difference was found in screening rates of participants compared with overall clinic rates between the 2013 (P=.639) and 2014 (P=.583) sample dates. No statistically significant difference was found in the overall CHC screening rates (P=.052), which were 47.69% and 40.84% in 2013 and 2014, respectively. During the study period, 99 eligible patients were seen. An incidental finding revealed a substantial EMR flaw in uniform data system reporting measures: self-reported colorectal cancer screenings by patients, without official documentation provided, were documented in an EMR section that is not retrieved during uniform data system reporting.

Conclusions: No associated change in colorectal cancer screening rates was found at the CHC after increasing participants’ awareness of patients’ screening eligibility using electronic flagging. However, colorectal cancer screening results cannot be reported with certainty given that incidental documentation and data collection discrepancies were found.

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