Akber Sheikh, BS, Andrew Chang, MD, Aslam Godil, MD, Roy Foliente, MD, Kevin Hill, DO, Benjamin Brichler, MD
Sierra Nevada Gastroenterology Medical Associates, Inc., Grass Valley, CA
Introduction: Colonoscopy cancellation negatively impacts endoscopy center efficiency and physician productivity. According to previous studies, the rates of colonoscopy cancellations within 24 hours were reported to be 2-4% (1,2). Using an automated call system to make reminder calls and informing patients of a cancellation fee, may be methods to reduce cancellations. Our aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of these methods in reducing late cancellations.
Methods: A prospective and retrospective study done at Sierra Nevada Gastroenterology Medical Associates and Sierra Endoscopy Center in Grass Valley, CA from Nov 2, 2018 to May 2, 2019. All enrolled patients had colonoscopy issues addressed by a physician at an office visit prior to scheduling. A reminder phone call was made by an automated calling system 48 hours prior to the colonoscopy. Results were compared to previous studies where a nurse gave the reminder call. Another group of patients were informed of a policy that a cancellation fee may be charged for late cancellation. Data was compared from this current study group to similar groups in 2009-11 and 2016-17 (1,2) to see if there were any significant factors that influenced colonoscopy cancellation rates.
Results: 138 from a total of 2310 pts (6%) cancelled their colonoscopy within 24 hours of their scheduled procedure time when receiving the automated reminder phone call. 2-4% of pts cancelled their colonoscopy when receiving a personal reminder call from a nurse (1,2). Knowledge of a cancellation fee did not reduce the amount of cancellations.
Discussion: Using an automated phone call system to make reminder phone calls led to a higher cancellation rate (6%) when compared to a personal reminder phone call from a nurse (2-4%). Potential reasons are that the patient may not pick up the phone thinking it was a robocall, wrong phone numbers, deleted messages, and difficulty understanding automated messages. Even though no late fees were actually charged, just the knowledge of a potential cancellation fee was not a deterrent for cancellation. Type of insurance was the most significant factor influencing colonoscopy cancellation, as the rate of cancellation was directly related to the increase in Medicaid insured patients and inversely related to the number of privately insured patients. Personal issues were the most frequent cause for last minute cancellations. Anticipating and addressing these issues at the time of scheduling may be the most effective way of reducing cancellation rates.
Citation: Akber Sheikh, BS, Andrew Chang, MD, Aslam Godil, MD, Roy Foliente, MD, Kevin Hill, DO, Benjamin Brichler, MD. P1280 - EXPLORING METHODS TO REDUCE COLONOSCOPY CANCELLATIONS. Program No. P1280. ACG 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting Abstracts. San Antonio, Texas: American College of Gastroenterology.