*EMBARGOED All research presented at the 2018 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course is strictly embargoed until Monday, October 8, 2018, at 8:00 am EDT.

Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD
Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD

P1094 Breaking Down Barriers: Using Virtual Reality to Enhance Patient Education and Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening

Author Insight from Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD, University of Miami

What’s new here and important for clinicians?

Despite the best efforts of all health care providers, colon cancer screening is underutilized, with screening rates ranging anywhere from 58-76% based on the state (American Cancer Society 2017). At best we are still failing to screen 25% of the population. Patients have serious concerns about colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, with the most common barriers being fear of colonoscopy and of the bowel preparation, among others. These barriers coupled with the lack of understanding of the risks, benefits and the efficacy of screening contribute to our inadequate screening. This study aims to prove that through education, and most importantly comprehension, patients will choose one of the six recommended CRC screening tests that best fits their preferences. This virtual reality demonstration uses a new modality for education that captures the patients’ attention and imagination. First, the patient is given an overview of CRC, followed by a tour through a virtual colon explaining and showing the viewer polyps and cancer. Finally, the demonstration reviews and compares the strengths and weaknesses of all recommended CRC screening tests. In our study, 23 of 24 patients who previously refused CRC screening on three separate occasions chose to undergo screening after the VR demonstration.

What do patients need to know?

Everybody has the potential to develop colon cancer, and that risk is about one in every 20 individuals. Yes, that means you! Screening can save your life. Currently, there are six different screening tests that all have different strengths and weaknesses. These differences are important to understand prior to picking a test that best suits you. This virtual reality demonstration teaches you about your risk, how colon cancer develops, and reviews all of the tests offered to help you have a more meaningful discussion with your provider before making a decision. If you haven’t had a discussion with your health care provider about colorectal cancer screening and you are age 50 or above or have a family history of colon cancer, please talk to your health care provider today!

Read the Abstract



Author Contact
Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD, University of Miami

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