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Gastrointest Endosc. 2006 Jan;63(1):97-103.

Improving compliance with postpolypectomy surveillance guidelines: an interventional study using a continuous quality improvement initiative.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Metrohealth Medical Center/Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44109, USA.



Despite guidelines, physicians tend to perform postpolypectomy surveillance colonoscopies too frequently.


The objective of the study was to determine the baseline compliance rate with postpolypectomy guidelines in our unit and to determine the influence of a continuous quality improvement (CQI) intervention on improving the compliance rate and on decreasing the potential additional costs because of the scheduling of postpolypectomy surveillance colonoscopies earlier than indicated.


This was a single-arm, pretest-posttest design.


This study took place at a tertiary care, academic medical center.


The medical records of all patients who underwent colonoscopy with polypectomy in our unit retrospectively during 6 months preceding (baseline period) and prospectively for 6 months after an intervention (postintervention period) were reviewed for patient demographics, colonoscopy findings, and scheduling of repeat colonoscopies.


We used 3 components: (1) distribution of a wallet-size card with a summary of postpolypectomy guidelines to all endoscopists, (2) placement of guideline charts near computers used for typing endoscopy reports, and (3) distribution and reinforcement of the guidelines in a monthly continuous quality improvement meeting.


The main outcome measures were compliance rates, mean times to repeat colonoscopy, and additional costs from surveillance colonoscopies being scheduled earlier than indicated were compared between the two periods.


There were 278 patients in the baseline period and 242 in the postintervention period, with similar patient and polyp characteristics. After the intervention, the compliance rate with guidelines improved from 57.2% to 81% (p < 0.001). The mean time to a repeat colonoscopy increased from 4.5 to 5.2 years (p = 0.003) (i.e., a 14% reduction in the number of postpolypectomy surveillance colonoscopies performed per year). This would result in a reduction of a total of 73 surveillance colonoscopies per year in our unit, with a projected cost savings of 171,331 dollars per year (cost of a colonoscopy assumed at 2347 dollars).


The limitation of the study was possible enhanced performance secondary to being observed (Hawthorne effect). Because more than 1 intervention was used, we do not know which one is more effective.


Relatively simple and easy-to-implement quality improvement initiatives can significantly enhance compliance with postpolypectomy guidelines and result in cost savings because of a reduction in the number of postpolypectomy surveillance colonoscopies being scheduled earlier than recommended guidelines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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