CRC is highly curable if caught early — yet just one in three eligible adults are screened for it. Because patients rarely bring up CRC screening with their primary care providers, the onus is on physicians to draw their attention to it. SWHR needed to design an intervention that addressed the patient's need for CRC education and patient-physician communication.
SWHR estimated that a 25% gap closure could be achieved by using data analytics (to target patients in need of CRC screening) and creating a simple shared decision-making tool for providers. And with early diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancers in the populations they serve, SWHR would lower the total cost of care for payors and employers.
SWHR created a three-step process to close CRC screening gaps. First, practices were sent lists of patients ages 50-75 who both needed screenings and were scheduled for appointments. Second, SWHR designed and distributed the shared decision-making tool for use by physicians to inform patients about screening options and the importance of getting tested. Talking points were also provided to guide productive and comfortable conversations between patients and providers. Third, a tracking process enabled clinic staff to follow up with patients who had not been screened.