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Population Health

Quality Care for Colorectal Cancer Screening

Activities to promote health and prevent disease are vital to health care delivery today. The goal for all patient encounters focuses on the key elements of quality care and customer service. The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) monitors several major health issues impacted by these elements. One issue is colorectal cancer (CRC) screening.

CRC is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women. However, the death rate has dropped over the past several decades. One major reason is higher rates of screening. Therefore, CRC screening is critical to achieve positive patient outcomes and promote quality care.

Among the screening methods, colonoscopy is the most common. It is considered a first-tier test, offered as a first choice to patients. Engage your patients in a discussion of different methods to promote shared decision-making and an informed choice. One option is the FIT test, which needs to be done annually. While it is not as accurate as the colonoscopy, it is better than not being tested at all.

Current guidelines recommend screening persons of average risk beginning at age 50 through age 75. If patients opt for a colonoscopy, the test should be done every 10 years. To meet HEDIS criteria for colonoscopy, ensure the patient’s history documents the date of CRC screening (within the past 10 years) and the results. If information is lacking or it has been longer than 10 years, discuss colonoscopy as a key preventive measure.

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