Stakeholder perspectives on implementing a universal Lynch syndrome screening program: a qualitative study of early barriers and facilitators

Genet Med. 2016 Feb;18(2):152-61. doi: 10.1038/gim.2015.43. Epub 2015 Apr 16.


Purpose: Evidence-based guidelines recommend that all newly diagnosed colon cancer be screened for Lynch syndrome (LS), but best practices for implementing universal tumor screening have not been extensively studied. We interviewed a range of stakeholders in an integrated health-care system to identify initial factors that might promote or hinder the successful implementation of a universal LS screening program.

Methods: We conducted interviews with health-plan leaders, managers, and staff. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis began with a grounded approach and was also guided by the Practical Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model (PRISM).

Results: We completed 14 interviews with leaders/managers and staff representing involved clinical and health-plan departments. Although stakeholders supported the concept of universal screening, they identified several internal (organizational) and external (environment) factors that promote or hinder implementation. Facilitating factors included perceived benefits of screening for patients and organization, collaboration between departments, and availability of organizational resources. Barriers were also identified, including: lack of awareness of guidelines, lack of guideline clarity, staffing and program "ownership" concerns, and cost uncertainties. Analysis also revealed nine important infrastructure-type considerations for successful implementation.

Conclusion: We found that clinical, laboratory, and administrative departments supported universal tumor screening for LS. Requirements for successful implementation may include interdepartmental collaboration and communication, patient and provider/staff education, and significant infrastructure and resource support related to laboratory processing and systems for electronic ordering and tracking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Health Planning
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mass Screening