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Am J Manag Care. 2011;17(7):480-8.

Colorectal cancer screening use among insured primary care patients.

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Center for Health Services Research, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.



To compare colorectal cancer (CRC) screening use, including changes over time and demographic characteristics associated with screening receipt, between 2 insured primary care populations.


Clinical and administrative records from 2 large health systems, one in New Mexico and the other in Michigan, were used to determine use of CRC screening tests between 2004 and 2008 among patients aged 51 to 74 years.


Generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate trends in CRC screening use over time and the association of demographic and other factors with screening receipt.


Rates of CRC screening use ranged from 48.1% at the New Mexico site to 68.7% at the Michigan site, with colonoscopy being the most frequently used modality. Fecal occult blood test was used inconsistently by substantial proportions of patients who did not meet the definition of screening users. Screening use was positively and significantly associated with older age, male sex, and more periodic health examinations and other types of primary care visits; at the Michigan site, it was also associated with African American race, married status, and higher annual estimated household income.


Among insured primary care patients, CRC screening use falls short. Further research is needed to determine what factors are barriers to routine fecal occult blood test or colonoscopy use among insured patients who have access to and regularly use primary care and how those barriers can be eliminated.

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