Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is recommended for all adults 50 to 75 years old, yet only slightly more than one-half of eligible people are current with screening. Because CRC screening is usually initiated upon recommendations of primary care physicians, interventions in these settings are needed to improve screening.
Objectives: To assess the impact of a quality improvement intervention combining electronic medical record based audit and feedback, practice site visits for academic detailing and participatory planning, and "best-practice" dissemination on CRC screening in primary care practice.
Research design: Two-year group randomized trial.
Subjects: Physicians, midlevel providers, and clinical staff members in 32 primary care practices in 19 States caring for 68,150 patients 50 years of age or older.
Measures: Proportion of active patients up-to-date (UTD) with CRC screening (colonoscopy within 10 years, sigmoidoscopy within 5 years, or at home fecal occult blood testing within 1 year) and having screening recommended within past year among those not UTD.
Results: Patients 50 to 75 years in intervention practices exhibited significantly greater improvement (from 60.7% to 71.2%) in being UTD with CRC screening than patients in control practices (from 57.7% to 62.8%), the adjusted difference being 4.9% (95% confidence interval, 3.8%-6.1%). Recommendations for screening also increased more in intervention practices with the adjusted difference being 7.9% (95% confidence interval, 6.3%-9.5%). There was wide interpractice variation in CRC screening throughout the intervention.
Conclusions: A multicomponent quality improvement intervention in practices that use electronic medical record can improve CRC screening.