Systems-based Strategies Improve Positive Screening Fecal Immunochemical Testing Follow-up and Reduce Time to Diagnostic Colonoscopy

Brett W. Sadowski*, Allison M. Bush*, Ross Humes*, Priscilla Cullen*, Ida Hopkins*, Yen Ju Chen*, John McCarthy*, Adam M. Tritsch*, Jeffrey T. Laczek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) is the most commonly used colorectal cancer (CRC) screening tool worldwide and accounts for 10% of all CRC screening in the United States. Potential vulnerabilities for patients enrolled to facilities within the military health system have recently come to light requiring reassessment of best practices. We studied the impact of a process improvement initiative designed to improve the safety and quality of care for patients after a positive screening FIT given previously published reports of poor organization performance. Methods: During a time of increased utilization of nonendoscopic means of screening, we assessed rates of colonoscopy completion and time to colonoscopy after positive FIT after a multi-faceted process improvement initiative was implemented, compared against an institutional control period. The interventions included mandatory indication labeling at the time of order entry, as well as utilization of subspecialty nurse navigators to facilitate rapid follow-up even the absence of a referral from primary care. Results: Preintervention, 34.8% of patients did not have appropriate follow-up of a positive FIT. Those that did had a variable and prolonged wait time of 140.1 ± 115.9 days. Postintervention, a standardized order mandating test indication labeling allowed for proactive gastroenterology involvement. Colonoscopy follow-up rate increased to 91.9% with an average interval of 21.9 ± 12.3 days. Conclusion: The addition of indication labels and patient navigation after positive screening FIT was associated with 57.1% absolute increase in timely diagnostic colonoscopy. Similar highly reliable systems-based solutions should be adopted for CRC screening, and further implementation for other preventative screening interventions should be pursued.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E554-E557
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


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