Clinician based decision tool to guide recommended interval between colonoscopies: development and evaluation pilot study

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Shafer, Leigh A.
Restall, Gayle
Simms, Alexandria
Lee, Eugene
Park, Jason
Singh, Harminder
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Abstract Background Optimal intervals between repeat colonoscopies could improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. We evaluated: (a) concordance between clinician and guideline recommended colonoscopy screening intervals in Winnipeg, Manitoba, (b) clinician opinions about the utility of an electronic decision-making tool to aid in recommending screening intervals, and (c) the initial use of a decision-making smartphone/web-based application. Methods Clinician endoscopists and primary care providers participated in four focus groups (N = 22). We asked participating clinicians to evaluate up to 12 hypothetical scenarios and compared their recommended screening interval to those of North American guidelines. Fisher’s exact tests were used to assess differences in agreement with guidelines. We developed a decision-making tool and evaluated it via a pilot study with 6 endoscopists. Result 53% of clinicians made recommendations that agreed with guidelines in ≤ 50% of the hypothetical scenarios. Themes from focus groups included barriers to using a decision-making tool: extra time to use it, less confidence in the results of the tool over their own judgement, and having access to the information required by the tool (e.g., family history). Most were willing to try a tool if it was quick and easy to use. Endoscopists participating in the tool pilot study recommended screening intervals discordant with guidelines 35% of the time. When their recommendation differed from that of the tool, they usually endorsed their own over the guideline. Conclusions Endoscopists are overconfident and inconsistent with applying guidelines in their polyp surveillance interval recommendations. Use of a decision tool may improve knowledge and application of guidelines. A change in practice may require that the tool be coupled with continuing education about evidence for improved outcomes if guidelines are followed.
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2022 May 17;22(1):136