AI helps double colonoscopy rates in underserved patients: Study

Artificial intelligence may help  engage underserved patients with colonoscopy screenings, according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2024 annual meeting. 

An AI patient navigator was able to re-engage patients at New York City-based Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center in colonoscopy screenings, doubling completion rates in individuals in underserved populations who previously missed or avoided an appointment, according to a June 1 Medscape report. 

Black patients see 20% higher incidence of colorectal cancers and are 40% more likely to die from the disease than white patients. Cases of early-onset colorectal cancer are also rising more rapidly in Hispanic populations than other groups, the report said. 

Montefiore primarily serves people from communities of color and low-income households. In 2022, 59% of 3,276 patients scheduled for colonoscopies either canceled or did not show up for the procedure, the report said. 

After using an AI tool to reengage 2,400 patients who missed colonoscopies, 58% of patients who engaged with the AI accepted a live transfer to a staff member to reschedule their appointments, and 25% of patients completed their colonoscopy screening. 

The AI navigator calls patients to discuss rescheduling, assess colonoscopy barriers, offer live transfers to clinical staff to reschedule appointments and provide procedure preparation reminder calls. Using the AI tool, no-show completion rates doubled from 10% to 19%, and patient volume for colonoscopies increased by 36%, according to the report. 

The system plans to next review the AI bot's effects on patient navigator burden, patient satisfaction and cost savings. 

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