Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 1135–1141 | Cite as

Patient–Provider Discussions about Colorectal Cancer Screening: Who Initiates Elements of Informed Decision Making?

  • Mira L. Katz
  • Ben Broder-Oldach
  • James L. Fisher
  • Justin King
  • Kathy Eubanks
  • Kelly Fleming
  • Electra D. Paskett
Original Research



Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates remain low among low-income minority populations.


To evaluate informed decision making (IDM) elements about CRC screening among low-income minority patients.


Observational data were collected as part of a patient-level randomized controlled trial to improve CRC screening rates. Medical visits (November 2007 to May 2010) were audio-taped and coded for IDM elements about CRC screening. Near the end of the study one provider refused recording of patients’ visits (33 of 270 patients). Among all patients in the trial, agreement to be audio taped was 43.5 % (103/237). Evaluable patient (n = 100) visits were assessed for CRC screening discussion occurrence, IDM elements, and who initiated discussion of each IDM element.


Patients were African American (72.2 %), female (63.7 %), with annual household incomes <$20,000 (60.7 %), without health insurance (57.0 %), and limited health literacy (53.7 %).


Although CRC screening was mentioned during 48 (48 %) visits, no further discussion about screening occurred in 23 visits (19 times mentioned by the participant with no response from providers). During any visit, the maximum number of IDM elements was five; however, only two visits included five elements. The most common IDM element discussed in addition to the nature of the decision was the assessment of the patient’s understanding in 16 (33.3 %) of the visits that included a CRC discussion.


A patient activation intervention initiated CRC screening discussions with health care providers; however, limited IDM occurred about CRC screening during medical visits of minority and low-income patients.


colorectal cancer cancer screening communication decision making 





Supported by the following grants: 1) NCI K07 CA107079 (MLK); 2) the Behavioral Measurement Shared Resource at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, NIH P30 CA16058; and 3) UL1RR025755 from the National Center For Research Resources.



Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mira L. Katz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ben Broder-Oldach
    • 1
  • James L. Fisher
    • 2
  • Justin King
    • 2
  • Kathy Eubanks
    • 2
  • Kelly Fleming
    • 3
  • Electra D. Paskett
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.College of Public HealthThe Ohio State University, College of Public HealthColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Columbus Neighborhood Health Centers, Inc.ColumbusUSA
  4. 4.College of MedicineThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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