GIs should educate, promote value of colonoscopy to physicians, patients
The value of colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening is important from the perspective of the business aspect and also patient care aspect, according to a speaker at GI Outlook.
“I chose the value of colonoscopy because it’s an important topic at the local level, both from the perspective of the practice, the patients and competitive technologies,” Joseph J. Vicari, MD, MBA, FASGE, of Rockford Gastroenterology Associates in Illinois, said during the presentation.
Vicari noted gastroenterologists have a strong understanding of the value of colonoscopy; however, they need to compete with other technologies such as fecal immunochemical test (FIT) multitargeted stool DNA.
Vicari highlighted ways the GIs can have a greater chance of effectively competing against these other emerging technologies.
Educate primary physicians and patients
Vicari said GIs can share colonoscopy guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force with primary care physicians. Point them to videos summarizing findings of the taskforce and also speak with them at their office.
“Primary physicians have the most influence over patients when it comes to patients’ decision-making, whether they’re going to actually follow through with testing,” Vicari said.
Then, after educating the primary physicians, educate the patients.
“When it comes to educating patients, we want to start that process with office visits. After primary care physicians, we as specialists can greatly influence the decision-making of patients or the choices, they make for the tests they choose,” Vicari said. “We spend time with our patients when they come to clinic visits, discussing screening for colon cancer, even if they’re there for other reasons and we also have our nurses talk about that during the visit.”
GIs can then refer patients to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy website so they can view patient testimonial videos and get them to pursue screening for colon cancer, according to Vicari.
Promote value of colonoscopy
Vicari said GIs should summarize the tier system to PCPs and patients that looks at the different tests available for colorectal cancer. He said the first tier would be colonoscopy and the FIT test.
Vicari said to focus on the fact that a colonoscopy is both a diagnostic and therapeutic test.
“It’s one test, it’s not getting a test such as a FIT test, or the Cologuard (Exact Sciences) that’s positive then they need another test,” Vicari said. “They can come in for one test and have it all taken care of in one visit. Another point that I would make with patients is that there is less frequent testing over your lifetime with colonoscopy.”
Vicari said promotion of the value of colonoscopy should be done at the local level. This could be done through a campaign or program.
“Obviously, as practices we don’t have the deep pockets that some of the other competitive technologies have for advertising and marketing, but we can be effective at the local level,” Vicari said.