February 22, 2018

Using Community Engagement and Navigators to Increase Colon Cancer Screening and Patient Outcomes

By Miguel Valdez Soto


A theory-driven tailored intervention developed in partnership with the community used evidence-based practices to (a) increase knowledge about colon cancer and screening and (b) assist patients in completing screenings. During the 16 months of delivery screening, patient navigators integrated into gastroenterology clinics met all goals, which included (a) enrolling an ethnically diverse group of participants ( N = 415) through inreach (clinic-referred patients who did not schedule appointments) and community outreach, (b) facilitating screening completions for 217 of the 358 (61%) patients identified as needing screening, and (c) obtaining satisfaction ratings from 89% of participants. A random sample ( N = 214) of nonnavigated patients matched on gender and age revealed no differences between navigated and nonnavigated patients on polyps detected. Navigated males (but not females) were significantly less likely than nonnavigated males to have either poor or only fair bowel preparation quality (odds ratio = .418, p = .020, 95% confidence interval [.197, .885]). Low-quality bowel preparation can lead to incomplete readings of the colon or cancelling a colonoscopy. This intervention demonstrates that evidence-based patient navigator programs are effective in increasing screening among a hard-to-reach population and improving bowel preparation quality for males.

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