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Keywords:

  • partnerships;
  • colorectal cancer;
  • clinic policies, procedures, and systems to increase screening and assure follow-up;
  • expand access to colonoscopies;
  • program dissemination

BACKGROUND

Fostering partnerships was critical to the success of the Colon Health Program (CHP) in Greater Seattle. The CHP was built on the Breast and Cervical Health Program (BCHP) framework. A replicable system to provide quality colorectal screening services for individuals with limited incomes and no health insurance was developed.

METHODS

Partners were recruited and engaged during 3 programmatic phases: 1) development and start-up, 2) implementation, and 3) sustainability planning. Several tactics were used to develop trust and build bridges among the partners and to create an effective work group.

RESULTS

The partners were critical to developing clinic policies, procedures, and systems to increase colorectal screening and improve follow-up; expanding access to colonoscopies; and initiating statewide dissemination of training and systems as well as policy change. The fecal occult blood test completion rate was 61%, and the colonoscopy completion rate was 78%. The colonoscopy navigation system was effective with a low “no show” rate (8%). The partners were instrumental in helping Washington State obtain funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue the CHP statewide.

CONCLUSIONS

During implementation, key elements for success included: building the project on the successful BCHP framework, meticulous training of clinic staff about colorectal cancer and screening methods, frequent consultation to identify and solve problems, active support of the clinic administration, and the presence of a CHP champion in the clinic. Institutionalization of the CHP depended on: assessing progress after the first year, documenting experience with the program, disseminating lessons learned, engaging new partners, and determining steps to expand the program. Cancer 2013;119(15 suppl):2884–93. © 2013 American Cancer Society.