Background — Timely follow-up of fecal occult blood screening with colonoscopy is essential for achieving colorectal cancer mortality reduction. In the present study, we evaluated the effectiveness of centrally generated, physician targeted audit and feedback to improve colonoscopy uptake after a positive fecal occult blood test (fobt) result within Ontario’s population-wide ColonCancerCheck Program.
Methods — This prospective cohort study used data sets from Ontario’s ColonCancerCheck Program (2008–2011) that were linked to provincial administrative health databases. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate the effect of centralized, physician-targeted audit and feedback on colonoscopy uptake in an Ontario-wide fobt-positive cohort.
Results — A mailed physician audit and feedback report identifying individuals outstanding for colonoscopy for 3 or more months after a positive fobt result did not increase the likelihood of colonoscopy uptake (hazard ratio: 0.95; 95% confidence interval: 0.79 to 1.13). Duration of positive fobt status was strongly inversely associated with the hazard of follow-up colonoscopy (p for linear trend: <0.001).
Conclusions — In a large population-wide setting, centralized tracking in the form of physician-targeted mailed audit and feedback reports does not improve colonoscopy uptake for screening participants with a positive fobt result outstanding for 3 or more months. Mailed physician-targeted screening audit and feedback reports alone are unlikely to improve compliance with follow-up colonoscopy in Ontario. Other interventions such as physician audits or automatic referrals, demonstrated to be effective in other jurisdictions, might be warranted.
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Screening and prevention