Patient-Initiated Colonoscopy Scheduling Effectively Increases Colorectal Cancer Screening Adherence

  • Gautam MankaneyEmail author
  • Maged Rizk
  • Shashank Sarvepalli
  • Jeannie Bongorno
  • Ari Garber
  • Rocio Lopez
  • John McMichael
  • Carol A. Burke
Original Article


Background and Aim

We identified patients without medical record evidence of up-to-date colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and sent an invitation letter to self-schedule a colonoscopy without requiring prior primary care or gastroenterologist consultation. The aim of the study was to evaluate the response rate to the letter and factors associated with colonoscopy completion.


A computer algorithm invited patients not up to date with CRC screening, with an INR < 1.5, and living within 300 miles of the Cleveland Clinic main campus through a letter. Patients scheduled a colonoscopy through a dedicated phone line without any prior physician consultation. Clinical, demographic, and socioeconomic variables were extracted from the EMR through natural language algorithms. We analyzed the percentage of patients who completed a colonoscopy within 6 months of sending the letter and factors associated with colonoscopy completion.


A total of 145,717 letters were sent. 1451 patients were deceased and excluded from analysis. 3.8% (5442) of letter recipients completed a colonoscopy. The strongest factors associated with colonoscopy completion on multivariate analysis included family history of polyps (OR 3.1, 95% CI 2.3, 4.2) or CRC (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7, 2.5). Other factors included younger age, male gender, married status, closer distance to endoscopy center, number of visits in the year prior, statin use, and diabetes. There were no immediate procedural complications.


Patient-initiated colonoscopy in response to letter invitation for CRC screening is effective and safe with safeguards established a priori. Consultation with a gastroenterologist or primary care physician is not necessary prior to colonoscopy. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate patient-initiated colonoscopy for CRC cancer screening.


Colon cancer screening Patient-initiated colonoscopy Letter invitation for colorectal cancer screening Population-based screening 


Author’s contribution

GM and CB planned the study and drafted the manuscript. GM, CB, SS, and RL analyzed the data. All authors collected data and have approved the final draft.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

10620_2019_5584_MOESM1_ESM.docx (201 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 201 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Digestive Disease and Surgical InstituteThe Cleveland ClinicClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Digestive Disease and Surgical InstituteThe Cleveland ClinicClevelandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics, and Quantitative Health Sciences, Digestive Disease and Surgical InstituteThe Cleveland ClinicClevelandUSA
  4. 4.Department of General Surgery, Digestive Disease and Surgical InstituteThe Cleveland ClinicClevelandUSA

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