Effect of Physician Notification Regarding Nonadherence to Colorectal Cancer Screening on Patient Participation in Fecal Immunochemical Test Cancer Screening: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Importance

Increasing participation in fecal screening tests is a major challenge in countries that have implemented colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programs.

Objective

To determine whether providing general practitioners (GPs) a list of patients who are nonadherent to CRC screening enhances patient participation in fecal immunochemical testing (FIT).

Design, Setting, and Participants

A 3-group, cluster-randomized study was conducted from July 14, 2015, to July 14, 2016, on the west coast of France, with GPs in 801 practices participating and involving adult patients (50-74 years) who were at average risk of CRC and not up-to-date with CRC screening. The final follow-up date was July 14, 2016.

Interventions

General practitioners were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 496 received a list of patients who had not undergone CRC screening (patient-specific reminders group, 10 476 patients), 495 received a letter describing region-specific CRC screening adherence rates (generic reminders group, 10 606 patients), and 455 did not receive any reminders (usual care group, 10 147 patients).

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary end point was patient participation in CRC screening 1 year after the intervention.

Results

Among 1482 randomized GPs (mean age, 53.4 years; 576 women [38.9%]), 1446 participated; of the 33 044 patients of these GPs (mean age, 59.7 years; 17 949 women [54.3%]), follow-up at 1 year was available for 31 229 (94.5%). At 1 year, 24.8% (95% CI, 23.4%-26.2%) of patients in the specific reminders group, 21.7% (95% CI, 20.5%-22.8%) in the generic reminders group, and 20.6% (95% CI, 19.3%-21.8%) in the usual care group participated in the FIT screening. The between-group differences were 3.1% (95% CI, 1.3%-5.0%) for the patient-specific reminders group vs the generic reminders group, 4.2% (95% CI, 2.3%-6.2%) for the patient-specific reminders group vs the usual care group, and 1.1% (95% CI, −0.6% to 2.8%) for generic reminders group vs the usual care group.

Conclusions and Relevance

Providing French GPs caring for adults at average risk of CRC with a list of their patients who were not up-to-date with their CRC screening resulted in a small but significant increase in patient participation in FIT screening at 1 year compared with patients who received usual care. Providing GPs with generic reminders about regional rates of CRC screening did not increase screening rates compared with usual care.

Trial Registration

clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02515344

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