*EMBARGOED All research presented at the 2020 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course is strictly embargoed until Monday, October 26, 2020, at 8:00 am EDT.
P0732 Utilization of Telemedicine for Colorectal Cancer Outreach During the COVID-19 Pandemic: COLOVID-19
Author Insight from Katie Farah, MD, FASGE, Allegheny Health Network
What’s new here and important for clinicians?
Based on recommendations from the CDC in mid-March 2020, all elective procedures were cancelled during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize risk of person to person transmission. The Quality team for the Division of Gastroenterology at Allegheny Health Network developed an educational program via telemedicine and internet entitled “COLorectal Outreach Via Internet and Dial-in – 19 (COLOVID-19)”, and utilized patient resources provided by the American College of Gastroenterology in order to educate patients. Our aim was to continue our colorectal cancer screening outreach initiatives and provide an avenue for patients to reschedule screening colonoscopies for the near future despite many uncertainties that existed. A document on colon cancer screening with instructions for rescheduling procedures was prepared by a group of physicians and nurses. Nurses, fellows, physicians and practice staff provided outreach to patients whose screening colonoscopy was rescheduled. The checklist was shared as part of the patient’s online Electronic Health Record (EHR) which allowed for two-way conversation between the medical provider and the patient. Any patients who not reached via EHR received a telephone call and the checklist was also mailed. In addition, those patients who had not been set up in the electronic health record were given the opportunity to receive assistance by telephone from our staff through the app on their tablet or smartphone. This improved access to our patients and helped in our communication regarding resources for colorectal cancer screening as well as health tips via remote access. Patients were given the opportunity to ask questions and have all of their concerns addressed which was greatly appreciated as per patient feedback.
Improved strategies to communicate to patients about the importance of colorectal cancer screening are a necessary component of improving screening rates. This is even more significant in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic which puts limitations on access and feasibility of colon cancer screening as many patients are hesitant to go forward with screening at this time. This is important as the surge of COVID-19 cases can vary by location, season, and patient demographics. In light of the fact that up to 30-35% of patients remain unscreened, the dialogue regarding colorectal cancer screening must continue and we can continue to make meaningful progress towards improving colon cancer screening rates despite the challenges presented by the pandemic throughout the entire year in a way that had not been done to date. That would be through remote access.
What do patients need to know?
Katie Farah, MD, FASGE, Allegheny Health Network
katie.farah [at] ahn [dot] org
Rita Cole, MBA, BS, Allegheny Health Network
rita.cole [at] ahn [dot] org
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