Objective: The growing use and complexity of endoscopy procedures in GI units has increased the need for good patient preparation. Earlier studies in this area have focused on the psychological benefits of patient education programs. The present study was directed at determining cost-effectiveness of a patient education program.
Methods: A prospective, randomized, controlled design was used. The patient population consisted of 142 patients aged 18-90 yr referred for an endoscopy procedure. Ninety-one (64%) participated in a targeted educational session conducted by a dedicated departmental nurse (group 1), 38 (27%) did not (group 2), and 13 (9%) received telephonic instruction (group 3). Before the endoscopy, all patients completed a questionnaire covering background data, endoscopy-related variables, anxiety level, and satisfaction. Patient cooperation and success/failure of the procedure were documented by the attending nurse.
Results: Male gender, previous endoscopy, and explanation from the referring physician were associated with a low level of anxiety (p < 0.05). There was a significant association between attendance in the education program and success of the endoscopy (p = 0.0009). Cancellations of procedures because of poor preparation occurred in 4.39% of group 1 in comparison with 26.31% and 15.38% of groups 2 and 3, respectively (p = 0.005). The overall cost of the procedure was reduced by 8.6%, 8.9%, and 5.5% for gastroscopy, colonoscopy, and sigmoidoscopy, respectively. All participants expressed satisfaction with the brochure.
Conclusion: A pre-endoscopy patient education program apparently increase patient compliance, thereby decreasing both the need for repeated examinations and their attendant costs.