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Influence of Patient-Provider Communication on Colorectal Cancer Screening

Carcaise-Edinboro, Patricia PhD*; Bradley, Cathy J. PhD†

doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318178935a
Original Article

Background: Screening reduces incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer (CRC). Despite improved access, screening is suboptimal and disparate among minority groups. Quality of patient-provider communication may impact CRC screening.

Objectives: We examined the relationship between patient-provider communication and socioeconomic variables on the receipt of CRC screening using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Subjects: All persons age 50 years or older (N = 8488).

Measures: Dependent measures were receipt of CRC screening, fecal occult blood testing, and colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. Independent variables included demographic characteristics, patient language, and patient-provider communication measures from the Consumer Assessment of Health Plan survey.

Results: Patients who felt they had sufficient time with their healthcare provider were more likely to be screened for CRC. Receiving adequate explanation of healthcare needs from provider was a significant predictor of fecal occult blood testing screening. In addition, persons with less than a high school education, the uninsured, or those with low income were associated with reduced likelihood of receiving CRC screening. Asians and Hispanics had a significantly reduced likelihood of receiving screening in comparison with whites; however, after adjusting for language, no significant differences for race or ethnicity were observed.

Conclusions: Adequate time with a healthcare provider and receiving sufficient explanation of the healthcare processes by providers may improve screening rates. Patient-provider communication may be improved by addressing language needs of non-English speaking patients. Overall improved communication may increase CRC screening rates in underserved populations.

From the* Massey Cancer Center and the †Department of Health Administration, School of Allied Health Professions and Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

Reprints: Patricia Carcaise-Edinboro, PhD, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Box 980037, Richmond, VA 23298. E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.