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Using Practice Facilitation to Increase Rates of Colorectal Cancer Screening in Community Health Centers, North Carolina, 2012–2013: Feasibility, Facilitators, and Barriers
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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Practice facilitation involves trained individuals working with practice staff to conduct quality improvement activities and support delivery of evidence-based clinical services. We examined the feasibility of using practice facilitation to assist federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to increase colorectal cancer screening rates in North Carolina.


    The intervention consisted of 12 months of facilitation in 3 FQHCs. We conducted chart audits to obtain data on changes in documented recommendation for colorectal cancer screening and completed screening. Key informant interviews provided qualitative data on barriers to and facilitators of implementing office systems.


    Overall, the percentage of eligible patients with a documented colorectal cancer screening recommendation increased from 15% to 29% (P < .001). The percentage of patients up to date with colorectal cancer screening rose from 23% to 34% (P = .03). Key informants in all 3 clinics said the implementation support from the practice facilitator was critical for initiating or improving office systems and that modifying the electronic medical record was the biggest challenge and most time-consuming aspect of implementing office systems changes. Other barriers were staff turnover and reluctance on the part of local gastroenterology practices to perform free or low-cost diagnostic colonoscopies for uninsured or underinsured patients.


    Practice facilitation is a feasible, acceptable, and promising approach for supporting universal colorectal cancer screening in FQHCs. A larger-scale study is warranted.

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