Barriers and Facilitators to Timely Colonoscopy Completion for Safety Net Clinic Patients

Am J Health Behav. 2020 Jul 1;44(4):460-472. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.44.4.8.


Objectives: In this study, we conducted telephone interviews with patients in community clinics who had abnormal fecal immunochemical test (FIT) results to identify follow-up colonoscopy challenges. The FIT is an effective colorectal cancer screening method, but its value is contingent on follow-up diagnostic colonoscopy. Methods: We explored barriers at 3 timepoints: (1) abnormal FIT-result communication, (2) scheduling/completion of colonoscopy, and (3) receipt of results. We sought to understand variation in experience by both Spanish and English language patients. Results: We interviewed 32 patients (16 English; 16 Spanish), 66% of whom were women. There were 13 early completers (≤ 2 months after FIT result), 14 later completers (> 2 months after FIT result), and 5 non-completers of the colonoscopy. The greatest challenge was fear of the procedure, expressed more often by Spanish language (SL) participants and later completers. SL participants also cited cost and lack of clear communication about the need for a colonoscopy. English language (EL) participants experienced lack of reliable transportation. Conclusions: Barriers to timely colonoscopy completion following an abnormal FIT can occur at different transitions in care and vary by patient characteristics. Our findings may inform the design of programs to improve colonoscopy completion in safety net clinics.

Trial registration: NCT01742065.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colonoscopy* / psychology
  • Colonoscopy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Early Detection of Cancer* / psychology
  • Early Detection of Cancer* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility* / statistics & numerical data
  • Healthcare Disparities* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Qualitative Research
  • Safety-net Providers* / statistics & numerical data

Associated data