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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews.

The role of physician reminders in faecal occult blood testing for colorectal cancer screening

Review published: 2011.

Bibliographic details: Siddiqui MR, Sajid MS, Khatri K, Kanri B, Cheek E, Baig MK.  The role of physician reminders in faecal occult blood testing for colorectal cancer screening. European Journal of General Practice 2011; 17(4): 221-228. [PubMed: 21861598]

Quality assessment

This review concluded that the use of physician prompts did not increase rates of faecal occult blood testing in colorectal cancer screening. Further studies in areas with lower uptake and high levels of deprivation were needed. The conduct of this review was good and the authors' conclusions seem justified. Full critical summary

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer screening in the form of faecal occult blood (FOB) testing can significantly reduce the burden of this disease and has been used as early as the 1970s. Effective involvement of GPs along with reminding physicians prior to seeing a patient may improve uptake.

OBJECTIVE: This article is a systematic review of published literature examining the uptake of FOB testing after physician reminders as part of the colorectal cancer screening process.

METHODS: Electronic databases were searched from January 1975 to October 2010. All studies comparing physician reminders (Rem) with controls (NRem) were identified. A meta-analysis was performed to obtain a summary outcome.

RESULTS: Five comparative studies involving 25 287 patients were analyzed. There were 12 641 patients were in the Rem and 12 646 in the NRem group. All five studies obtained a higher percentage uptake when physician reminders were given. However, in only two of the studies were the percentage uptake significantly higher. There was significant heterogeneity among trials (I2 = 95%). The combined increase in FOB test uptake was not statistically significant (random effects model: risk difference = 6.6%, 95% CI: -2-14.7%; z = 1.59, P = 0.112).

CONCLUSION: Reminding physicians about those patients due for FOB testing may not improve the effectiveness of a colorectal cancer screening programme. Further studies are required and should focus on areas where there is a lower baseline uptake and areas with high levels of deprivation.

CRD has determined that this article meets the DARE scientific quality criteria for a systematic review.

Copyright © 2014 University of York.

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