Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) in Buffalo is making good on its 80% by 2018 pledge. The results of a campaign to introduce FIT testing into their safety net system were recently published in the British Medical Journal.
ECMC partnered with the American Cancer Society to introduce FIT to increase colorectal cancer screening in primary care. Jason Coleman, senior manager, Primary Care Systems, is the ACS staff partner for the project that helps provide critically important colon cancer community education and screenings to the underserved populations in the Buffalo area.
FIT tests were offered annually, and a patient navigator worked directly with patients, following up and navigating them through the screening process. The patient navigator performed an essential role, following up by phone to increase the return of tests, and navigating the patient through the screening process to ensure treatment for any positive results.
Four hundred and seven patients visiting the Internal Medicine Clinic were offered FIT, and 252 (62%) completed the test. Twenty-two patients (8.7%) were FIT positive, 14 of those (63.6%) underwent a subsequent diagnostic colonoscopy. ECMC achieved a 75% screening rate in age appropriate patients - exceeding its 18-month project goal.
Successful strategies included engaging the leadership, the front-line staff, and a highly effective multidisciplinary team. For average-risk patients, FIT was the preferred method of screening.
For further detail on ECMC's project to increase colorectal cancer screening, read the article about it in the Oct. 25, 2018, edition of the BMJ.
You may recall in 2016, Buffalo was among the first communities to declare support across all health systems and the local government at an 80% by 2018 press event attended by Rich Wender, our chief cancer control officer.