Researchers conducted a study of an intensive outreach program that more than doubled the rate of colorectal cancer screening in underserved populations, according to a Medpage Today report. Here are five things to know about the outreach program and its results.
1. The small, randomized clinical trial utilized mail, phone calls and texts to encourage participants to retake their yearly annual fecal occult blood test. The study included 450 participants who had a low socioeconomic status, high uninsured rates and limited English-speaking proficiency. All participants had completed a FOBT within the past year.
2. The participants in the control group were given standard computerized reminders. The participants in the intervention group were mailed a fecal immunochemical test, which was followed by automated phone calls, text messages and mailed information with low-literacy requirements. If the participant did not take the test within two weeks, these efforts were repeated. After three months of no response, participants were sent another FIT.
3. There were 185 participants in the intervention group. Of these participants, 86 percent completed a FOBT within six months, while only 37 percent of control group participants completed the test within six months.
4. Of the 86 percent of control group participants who completed a FOBT, 10 had a positive result. Six of those patients had a follow-up diagnostic colonoscopy within six months. The study authors expressed disappointment in this result. The colonoscopy was offered to participants at no cost and with the help of a healthcare navigator.
5. The study authors estimated the cost of completed FIT per patient was $43.13. The estimated cost of outreach intervention per patient was $34.59. The study's limitations included results from a single organization and a fairly homogenous study group. The authors noted they also did not have an organized intervention protocol for patients with positive FOBT results. They expressed hope that future studies would aggressively tackle these issues, according to the report.
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