The effectiveness of the FLU-FOBT program in primary care a randomized trial

Am J Prev Med. 2011 Jul;41(1):9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.03.011.


Background: The FLU-FOBT Program is an intervention in which nurses provide home fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs) to eligible patients during annual influenza vaccination (FLU) campaigns. The effectiveness of the FLU-FOBT Program when implemented during primary care visits has not been extensively studied.

Purpose: The effectiveness of the FLU-FOBT Program was tested as adapted for use during primary care visits in community clinics serving multiethnic patients with low baseline colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates.

Design: Randomized clinical trial. During intervention weeks, nurses routinely initiated the offering of FOBT to eligible patients who were given FLU (FLU-FOBT group). During control weeks, nurses provided FOBT with FLU only when ordered by the primary care clinician during usual care (FLU-only group).

Setting/participants: The study was conducted in six community clinics in San Francisco. Participants were patients aged 50-75 years who received FLU during primary care visits during an 18-week intervention beginning on September 28, 2009.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was the change in CRC screening rates in the FLU-FOBT group compared to the FLU-only group at the end of the study period, on March 30, 2010. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine predictors of becoming up-to-date with CRC screening.

Results: Data were analyzed in 2010. A total of 695 participants received FLU on FLU-FOBT dates, and 677 received FLU on FLU-only dates. The CRC screening rate increased from 32.5% to 45.5% (+13.0 percentage points) in the FLU-FOBT group, and from 31.3% to 35.6% (+4.3 percentage points) in the FLU-only group (p=0.018 for change difference). For those due for CRC screening, the OR for completing CRC screening by the end of the measurement period was 2.22 (95% CI=1.24, 3.95) for the FLU-FOBT group compared to the FLU-only group.

Conclusions: FLU-FOBT Program participants were twice as likely to complete CRC screening as those receiving usual care. The FLU-FOBT Program is a practical strategy to increase CRC screening in community clinics. TRIAL REGISTRATION #: NCT01211379.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Community Health Services / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / methods
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Occult Blood*
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • San Francisco


  • Influenza Vaccines

Associated data