Results of a randomized controlled trial to increase colorectal cancer screening in a managed care health plan

Cancer. 2005 Nov 15;104(10):2072-83. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21434.


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cause of cancer deaths; however, rates of regular screening for this cancer are low. A quality improvement (QI) program to increase CRC screening was developed for use in a managed care health plan.

Methods: Thirty-six provider organizations (POs) contracting with the health plan were recruited for a randomized controlled effectiveness trial testing the QI program. The intervention was delivered over a 2-year period, and its effectiveness was assessed by chart review of a random sample of patients from each PO.

Results: Thirty-two of the 36 POs were evaluable for outcome assessment. During the 2-year intervention period, only 26% of the eligible patients received any CRC screening test. Twenty-nine percent of patients had any CRC screening test within guidelines, with no differences between the intervention or control POs. Significant predictors of having received CRC screening within guidelines were older age (P = 0.0004), receiving care in an integrated medical group (P < 0.0001) and having had a physical examination within the past 2 years (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: A facilitated QI intervention program for CRC screening that focused on the PO did not increase rates of CRC screening. Overall CRC screening rates are low and are in need of improvement.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Managed Care Programs / standards*
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*