Influence of Patient-Provider Communication on Colorectal Cancer Screening

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Abstract

Background:

Screening reduces incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer (CRC). Despite improved access, screening is suboptimal and disparate among minority groups. Quality of patient-provider communication may impact CRC screening.

Objectives:

We examined the relationship between patient-provider communication and socioeconomic variables on the receipt of CRC screening using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Subjects:

All persons age 50 years or older (N = 8488).

Measures:

Dependent measures were receipt of CRC screening, fecal occult blood testing, and colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. Independent variables included demographic characteristics, patient language, and patient-provider communication measures from the Consumer Assessment of Health Plan survey.

Results:

Patients who felt they had sufficient time with their healthcare provider were more likely to be screened for CRC. Receiving adequate explanation of healthcare needs from provider was a significant predictor of fecal occult blood testing screening. In addition, persons with less than a high school education, the uninsured, or those with low income were associated with reduced likelihood of receiving CRC screening. Asians and Hispanics had a significantly reduced likelihood of receiving screening in comparison with whites; however, after adjusting for language, no significant differences for race or ethnicity were observed.

Conclusions:

Adequate time with a healthcare provider and receiving sufficient explanation of the healthcare processes by providers may improve screening rates. Patient-provider communication may be improved by addressing language needs of non-English speaking patients. Overall improved communication may increase CRC screening rates in underserved populations.

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