Barriers to Colonoscopy in an Uninsured Patient Population-A Quality Improvement Project

Am Surg. 2019 Jan 1;85(1):111-114.


Colorectal cancer remains common, with the "80 per cent by 2018" initiative proposed by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. This study was designed to examine obstacles for patients who did not receive their scheduled colonoscopy, focusing on the impact of insurance status. Retrospective chart review was carried out on patients who did not complete their colonoscopy as scheduled from January 2013 to June 2017. The control group consisted of patients who completed their scheduled colonoscopy. One hundred and seventy five patients missed 200 colonoscopies. The most common reasons for cancellation were patient illness (16%), no-show (14%), no prep carried out (13%), inadequate prep (10%), and no transportation (11%). The canceled patients were significantly more likely to have the combination of no insurance and no Primary Care Provider (PCP) (13% vs 4%, P = 0.008), personal history of cancer (22% vs 12%, P = 0.02), and higher rates of prior GI issues (78% vs 50%, P < 0.001). The canceled group had a significantly lower history of colon polyps (37% vs 53%, P = 0.006). Difficulty with the bowel prep in addition to lack of insurance and poverty likely does create a barrier, even in a system that has a safety net, atop other issues such as transportation and inability to miss work playing a role.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Uninsured*
  • Middle Aged
  • No-Show Patients*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult