Background: Screening for colon cancer by colonoscopy is increasingly recommended in the medical literature. There are few, if any, reports in the medical literature regarding the provision of colonoscopy services in small rural hospitals by non-specialist endoscopists.
Objective: This study, carried out in a small rural hospital in northern Ontario, tracks the development of a colonoscopy service provided by a general practitioner with some basic colonoscopy training. It compares the GP's past and present level of expertise with literature-derived benchmarks and gauges the safety and effectiveness of the procedure.
Methods: A retrospective chart review of 616 colonoscopies performed by this GP between April 1992 and September 2003.
Results: The results of the study support the idea that colonoscopy in a rural setting can be provided safely and effectively.
Conclusion: Colonoscopy has a high safety profile when provided by general practitioners, and training in the procedure should be available to interested family practitioners and family practice residents.