A digital intake tool to avert outpatient visits in a FIT-based colorectal cancer screening population: study protocol of a multicentre, prospective non-randomized trial - the DIT-trial

Fleur E. Marijnissen, Pieter J.F. de Jonge, Nicole S. Erler, Sohal Y. Ismail, Iris Lansdorp-Vogelaar, Manon C.W. Spaander*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Currently all participants of the Dutch colorectal cancer (CRC) screening program with a positive faecal immunochemical test (FIT) are seen at the outpatient clinic to assess their health status, receive information on colonoscopy and CRC risk, and provide informed consent. However, for many patients this information could probably also safely be exchanged in an online setting, in order to reduce the burden for patients, healthcare system, and environment. In this study we will evaluate if a face-to-face pre-colonoscopy consultation can be replaced by a Digital Intake Tool (DIT) in a CRC screening population. Methods: This is a prospective multicentre single-arm, non-randomized study with a non-inferiority design. The DIT will triage a total of 1000 participants and inform them about CRC risk, colonoscopy, sedation, and provide bowel preparation instructions. Participants identified as high-risk (i.e., red-triaged) will be contacted by phone or scheduled for an appointment at the outpatient clinic. The primary outcome measure will be adequate bowel preparation rate, defined as the proportion of participants with a Boston Bowel Preparation (BBPS) score ≥ 6. To compare our primary outcome, we will use colonoscopy data from 1000 FIT positive participants who visited the outpatient clinic for pre-colonoscopy consultation. Secondary outcomes will include participation rate, colonoscopy adherence rate, patient experience in terms of satisfaction and anxiety, knowledge transfer, number of outpatient visits that can be averted by the DIT, and cost-effectiveness of the tool. Ethical approval was obtained from the Medical Ethical Committee of the Erasmus Medical Center (MEC-2021-0098). Discussion: This study aims to assess if a face-to-face pre-colonoscopy consultation can be replaced by an eHealth assessment and education tool in a FIT-based CRC screening program. In case favourable results are established, the intervention evaluated in this study could significantly impact CRC screening programs, benefiting both patients and healthcare systems on a (inter)national scale. Additionally, it would enable more personalized care as the DIT can be easily customized and made feasible in other languages, thereby enhancing healthcare accessibility. Trial registration: Dutch Trial Register: NL9315 , date of registration: March 8th, 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalBMC Gastroenterology
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2024

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