Health Services Research & Development

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Lafata JE, Shin Y, Flocke SA, Hawley ST, Jones RM, Resnicow K, Schreiber M, Shires DA, Tu SP. Randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of offering postvisit decision support and assistance in obtaining physician-recommended colorectal cancer screening: the e-assist: Colon Health study-a protocol study. BMJ open. 2019 Jan 7; 9(1):e023986.
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Abstract: INTRODUCTION: How to provide practice-integrated decision support to patients remains a challenge. We are testing the effectiveness of a practice-integrated programme targeting patients with a physician recommendation for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: In partnership with healthcare teams, we developed 'e-assist: Colon Health', a patient-targeted, postvisit CRC screening decision support programme. The programme is housed within an electronic health record (EHR)-embedded patient portal. It leverages a physician screening recommendation as the cue to action and uses the portal to enrol and intervene with patients. Programme content complements patient-physician discussions by encouraging screening, addressing common questions and assisting with barrier removal. For evaluation, we are using a randomised trial in which patients are randomised to receive e-assist: Colon Health or one of two controls (usual care plus or usual care). Trial participants are average-risk, aged 50-75 years, due for CRC screening and received a physician order for stool testing or colonoscopy. Effectiveness will be evaluated by comparing screening use, as documented in the EHR, between trial enrollees in the e-assist: Colon Health and usual care plus (CRC screening information receipt) groups. Secondary outcomes include patient-perceived benefits of, barriers to and support for CRC screening and patient-reported CRC screening intent. The usual care group will be used to estimate screening use without intervention and programme impact at the population level. Differences in outcomes by study arm will be estimated with hierarchical logit models where patients are nested within physicians. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: All trial aspects have been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the health system in which the trial is being conducted. We will disseminate findings in diverse scientific venues and will target clinical and quality improvement audiences via other venues. The intervention could serve as a model for filling the gap between physician recommendations and patient action. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT02798224; Pre-results.