Effectiveness of a mailed colorectal cancer screening outreach program in community health clinics the STOP CRC cluster randomized clinical trial

Gloria D. Coronado, Amanda F. Petrik, William M. Vollmer, Stephen H. Taplin, Erin M. Keast, Scott Fields, Beverly B. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE Approximately 24 million US individuals receive care at federally qualified health centers, which historically have low rates of colorectal cancer screening. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends routine colorectal cancer screening for individuals aged 50 to 75 years. OBJECTIVE To determine the effectiveness of an electronic health record (EHR)-embedded mailed fecal immunochemical test (FIT) outreach program implemented in health centers as part of standard care. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This cluster randomized pragmatic clinical trial was conducted in 26 federally qualified health center clinics, representing 8 health centers in Oregon and California, randomized to intervention (n = 13) or usual care (n = 13). All participants were overdue for colorectal cancer screening during the accrual interval (February 4, 2014 to February 3, 2015). INTERVENTIONS Electronic health record-embedded tools to identify eligible adults and to facilitate implementation of a stepwise mailed intervention involving (1) an introductory letter, (2) a mailed FIT, and (3) a reminder letter; training, collaborative learning, and facilitation through a practice improvement process. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Effectiveness was measured as clinic-level proportions of adults who completed a FIT, and secondarily, any colorectal cancer screening within 12 months of accrual or by August 3, 2015. Implementation was measured as clinic-level proportions of adults who were mailed an introductory letter and ordered a FIT. RESULTS Twenty-six clinics with 41 193 adults (mean [SD] age, 58.5 [6.3] years; 22 994 women) were randomized to receive the direct mail colorectal screening intervention (13 clinics; 21 134 patients) or usual care (13 clinics; 20 059 patients). Compared with usual care clinics, intervention clinics had significantly higher adjusted clinic-level proportion of participants who completed a FIT (13.9% vs 10.4%; difference, 3.4 percentage points; 95% CI, 0.1%-6.8%) and any colorectal cancer screening (18.3% vs 14.5%; difference, 3.8 percentage points; 95% CI, 0.6%-7.0%). We observed large variation across health centers in effectiveness (FIT completion differences range, −7.4 percentage points to 17.6 percentage points) and implementation (proportion who were mailed a FIT range, 6.5% to 68.2%). The number needed to mail to achieve a completed FIT was 4.8 overall, and 4.0 in clinics that mailed a FIT reminder. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE An EHR-embedded mailed FIT outreach intervention significantly improved rates of FIT completion and rates of any colorectal cancer screening. Higher rates of colorectal cancer screening occurred in clinics that successfully implemented the mailed outreach program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1189
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA internal medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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