(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Automated calling approach improves the rate of screening for colorectal cancer, according to a team of researchers of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, CO. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Automated Phone and Mail Population Outreach to Promote Colorectal Cancer Screening,” which was published in the July issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

In this study, the investigators aimed to promote screening for colorectal cancer (CRC). To meet this aim, the investigators sent to 58,440 insured members a survey robocall and then mailed a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), or colonoscopy, if requested.  Survival was compared in individuals who had received screening vs. those who had not yet received it.

Of the large unscreened population, 26,003 (45%) completed screening after receiving their kit in the mail. The investigators reported a hazard ratio of 4.08 for outreach effect on screening completion (95% confidence interval: 3.93–4.25), with lower screening levels among African Americans (HR 0.83; 0.77–0.90) and Hispanics (HR 0.84; 0.80–0.88) compared with whites, and in smokers (HR 0.77; 0.74–0.80) compared with nonsmokers. “The outreach had greater impact among those without a primary care (HR 4.5 vs 3.0, P <.0001) or specialty care (HR 5.2 vs 3.5, P <.0001) visit compared with those with 1 or more visits,” the investigators wrote.

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The investigators concluded that “the rate of colorectal cancer screening in members after mailed FIT with IVR was almost 4 times higher than usual care, particularly in those without an office visit; thus, targeted approaches are needed for groups at risk for not screening.”