Despite proven effectiveness of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, at least 35% of screen-eligible adults are not current with screening. Decision aids and risk prediction tools may help increase uptake, adherence, and efficiency of CRC screening by presenting lower-risk patients with options less invasive than colonoscopy. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine patient and provider perceptions of facilitators and barriers to use of a risk prediction tool for advanced colorectal neoplasia (CRC and advanced, precancerous polyps), to maximize its chances of successful clinical implementation.
We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with patients aged 50-75 years who were not current with CRC screening, and primary care providers (PCPs) at an academic and a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the Midwest from October 2016 through March 2017. Participants were asked about their current experiences discussing CRC screening, then were shown the risk tool and asked about its acceptability, barriers, facilitators, and whether they would use it to guide their choice of a screening test. The constant comparative method guided analysis.
Thirty patients and PCPs participated. Among facilitators were the tool’s potential to increase screening uptake, reduce patient risk, improve resource allocation, and facilitate discussion about CRC screening. PCP-identified barriers included concerns about the tool’s accuracy, consistency with guidelines, and time constraints.
Patients and PCPs found the risk prediction tool useful, with potential to increase uptake, safety, and efficiency of CRC screening, indicating potential acceptability and feasibility of implementation into clinical practice.