The quality of screening colonoscopy in rural and underserved areas

Surg Endosc. 2021 Nov 5. doi: 10.1007/s00464-021-08833-z. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Screening colonoscopy effectiveness depends on procedure quality; however, knowledge about colonoscopy quality in rural and underserved areas is limited. This study aimed to describe the characteristics and quality of colonoscopy and to examine predictors of colonoscopy quality at rural and underserved hospitals.

Methods: Adults undergoing colonoscopy from April 2017 to March 2019 at rural or underserved hospitals across the Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative were prospectively identified. The primary outcome was colorectal adenoma detection, and secondary outcomes included bowel preparation adequacy, cecum photodocumentation, and withdrawal time. Performance was benchmarked against multisociety guidelines, and multivariable logistic regression was used to examine patient, physician, and procedure characteristics associated with adenoma detection.

Results: In total, 4217 colonoscopy procedures were performed at 8 hospitals, including 1865 screening examinations performed by 19 surgeons, 9 gastroenterologists, and 2 family practitioners. Physician screening volume ranged from 2 to 218 procedures (median 50; IQR 23-74). Adenoma detection occurred in 26.6% of screening procedures (target: ≥ 25%), 90.7% had adequate bowel preparation (target: ≥ 85%), 93.1% had cecum photodocumentation (target: ≥ 95%), and mean withdrawal time was 8.1 min (target: ≥ 6). Physician specialty was associated with adenoma detection (gastroenterologists: 36.9% vs. surgeons: 22.5%; OR 2.30, 95% CI 1.40-3.77), but adequate bowel preparation (OR 1.15, 95% CI 0.76-1.73) and cecum photodocumentation (OR 1.56, 95% CI 0.91-2.69) were not.

Conclusion: Colonoscopies performed at rural and underserved hospitals meet many quality metrics; however, quality varied widely. As physicians are scarce in rural and underserved areas, individualized interventions to improve colonoscopy quality are needed.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Endoscopy; Screening.