By Tom Sanders
As every endoscopy nurse knows all too well, a number of things must occur before a successful colonoscopy can be performed—things that the nurses and physicians involved with the procedure have little or no control over.
Of course, I’m referring to the much-maligned patient prep process. The patient bears the burden of learning about and understanding the prep process; purchasing the correct products; and following the prep instructions. There are unlimited opportunities for patient prep error. In fact, research suggests that about three out of 10 patients arrive for the procedure with colons that are not completely clean.
Then there are those patients who never arrive at all. About 14 percent cancel their appointments. And as endoscopy professionals are no doubt keenly aware, up to four percent of patients scheduled for a colonoscopy simply don’t show up.
Preventive Colonoscopies Ignored by Many
Colon cancer is ranked as the second leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. Each year, 51,000 patients die from colorectal cancer, and approximately 143,000 new cases are diagnosed. As readers of this publication know, this form of cancer is highly preventable when polyps are removed during colonoscopy screenings. Logically, adults should be lining up to get their colons checked and polyps removed. But we all know this isn’t the case and it’s tragic, though perhaps not surprising, that just 50 percent of adults 50 and older schedule preventive colonoscopy screenings.
This information is familiar to endoscopy medical professionals. Since launching the Colon Prep Center (CPC) nearly two years ago, my partners and I have found that enhancing the prep experience increases patient compliance and the number of colonoscopies performed. It’s good news for everyone.