Colorectal Cancer: Applying the Value Transformation Framework to increase the percent of patients receiving screening in Federally Qualified Health Centers

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Preventive Medicine Reports


Background: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and third-most common cancer in both men and women. Colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) rates remain low, particularly among vulnerable patients receiving care at federally qualified health centers. Through its Value Transformation Framework, the National Association of Community Health Centers provides a systematic approach to improving CRCS by transforming health center infrastructure, care delivery, and people systems—to improve health outcomes, patient and staff experiences, and lower costs (Quadruple Aim). Methods: We combined the Value Transformation Framework, evidence-based CRCS interventions, and the Learning Community Model to drive system improvements and implement evidence-based practices. Multi-disciplinary teams at 8 health centers in Georgia and Iowa participated for 1-year with Primary Care Association support. Results: Pre−/post- 1-year-intervention data showed, within health centers, raw percentage of eligible patients screened for CRC increased from 33.2% (13.5%–61.7%) in January 2017 to 46.5% (14.2%–81.5%) in December 2017, with an overall 13.3 percentage point average increase. This translates into an average increase of 3.3 (95% CI: 1.7, 5.0) eligible patients screened per month per health center over the year or 317 additional patients meeting CRCS guidelines. Specific interventions associated with higher CRCS rates included standing orders, sharing performance data, and electronic health record alerts. Conclusion: Findings support a three-pronged approach for improving CRCS: The Value Transformation Framework's evidence-based recommendations, with actionable CRC interventions, offered in a learning community. These results guide methodological approaches to improving CRCS in health centers through a multi-level, multi-modality quality improvement and transformation approach.



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