Publication Abstract

Authors: O'Malley AS, Beaton E, Yabroff KR, Abramson R, Mandelblatt J

Title: Patient and provider barriers to colorectal cancer screening in the primary care safety-net.

Journal: Prev Med 39(1):56-63

Date: 2004 Jul

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: This study examines patient and provider barriers to screening for colorectal cancer among low-income uninsured African-Americans aged 50 years or older in an urban safety-net primary care clinic, with the goal of informing a future intervention. METHODS: Four focus groups were conducted among 40 patients from, or living in the immediate neighborhood of, a primary care clinic for uninsured residents of Washington, DC. An additional focus group was conducted among primary care providers from the same clinic. Using semistructured open-ended questions, moderators elicited perceptions of barriers and promoters of colorectal cancer screening and suggestions to improve adherence to screening guidelines. The focus groups were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were independently coded by two reviewers using established qualitative methodology. RESULTS: Patient and provider comments from the five focus groups fell into one of eight content areas: primary care characteristics (36% of comments), procedural issues related to screening (16% of comments), knowledge (14% of comments), cost/insurance coverage (13%), ordering of priorities (12%), attitudes (5%), information sources (2%), and perceptions of discrimination (2%). Involving various members of the primary care team in colorectal cancer screening processes, and using reminders with feedback, were identified as promising avenues for future interventions in the safety-net setting. Patients and providers cited the lack of referral sources for colonoscopy for follow-up of abnormal fecal occult blood tests (FOBT), and lack of treatment sources as major barriers to the initiation of colorectal cancer screening in uninsured populations. CONCLUSIONS: Organizational level interventions, such as a team approach to colorectal cancer screening, are important areas identified for future colorectal cancer screening interventions in the safety-net primary care setting. Larger policy efforts to provide coverage for screening, diagnosis, and treatment among the uninsured are critical to implementing adequate colorectal cancer screening for this population.