Original Paper

Journal of Community Health

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 239-247

Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening in an Overdue Population: Participation and Cost Impacts of Adding Telephone Calls to a FIT Mailing Program

  • Jennifer A. SchlichtingAffiliated withVA Office of Rural Health, Rural Health Resource Center – Central Region, Iowa City VA Healthcare SystemComprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City VA Healthcare System
  • , Michelle A. MengelingAffiliated withVA Office of Rural Health, Rural Health Resource Center – Central Region, Iowa City VA Healthcare SystemComprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City VA Healthcare SystemDivision of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
  • , Nader M. MakkiAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
  • , Ashish MalhotraAffiliated withVA Office of Rural Health, Rural Health Resource Center – Central Region, Iowa City VA Healthcare SystemComprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City VA Healthcare System
  • , Thorvardur R. HalfdanarsonAffiliated withDivision of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic
  • , J. Stacey KluttsAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, University of Iowa Carver College of MedicinePathology and Laboratory Medicine, Iowa City VA Healthcare System
  • , Barcey T. LevyAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public HealthDepartment of Family Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
  • , Peter J. KaboliAffiliated withVA Office of Rural Health, Rural Health Resource Center – Central Region, Iowa City VA Healthcare SystemComprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City VA Healthcare SystemDivision of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
  • , Mary E. CharltonAffiliated withVA Office of Rural Health, Rural Health Resource Center – Central Region, Iowa City VA Healthcare SystemComprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City VA Healthcare SystemDepartment of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health Email author 

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Abstract

Many people who live in rural areas face distance barriers to colonoscopy. Our previous study demonstrated the utility of mailing fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) to average risk patients overdue for colorectal cancer (CRC screening). The aims of this study were to determine if introductory and reminder telephone calls would increase the proportion of returned FITs as well as to compare costs. Average risk patients overdue for CRC screening received a high intensity intervention (HII), which included an introductory telephone call to see if they were interested in taking a FIT prior to mailing the test out and reminder phone calls if the FIT was not returned. This HII group was compared to our previous low intensity intervention (LII) where a FIT was mailed to a similar group of veterans with no telephone contact. While a higher proportion of eligible respondents returned FITs in the LII (92 vs. 45 %), there was a much higher proportion of FITs returned out of those mailed in the HII (85 vs. 14 %). The fewer wasted FITs in the HII led to it having lower cost per FIT returned ($27.43 vs. $44.86). Given that either intervention is a feasible approach for patients overdue for CRC screening, health care providers should consider offering FITs using a home-based mailing program along with other evidence-based CRC screening options to average risk patients. Factors such as location, patient population, FIT cost and reimbursement, and personnel costs need to be considered when deciding the most effective way to implement FIT screening.

Keywords

Colorectal cancer screening Fecal immunochemical test Intervention Cost comparison