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Archive Gastroenterology 2019

Are You Ready for The Colonoscopy Boom?

New screening recommendations are expected to increase the demand for first-time colonoscopies.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Editor-in-Chief


SCREEN TEST An increasing number of patients might soon line up outside your procedure rooms to get checked for colon cancer.

Colorectal cancer doesn't discriminate against the young, so last May the American Cancer Society recommended that screening for precancerous growths in the colon begin at age 45 instead of age 50.

"We're getting a lot more phone calls from patients who want to schedule a colonoscopy," says Julie Carpenter, BSN, RN, a direct access nurse at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. The hospital has 4 procedure rooms in which they currently schedule 12 to 13 screenings a day, but several of its GI docs are considering adding another block schedule to keep up with the expected uptick in requests for first-time colonoscopies.

Advocate Good Samaritan recently launched the Direct Access Screening Colonoscopy (DASC) program to fast-track patients who are in overall good health and at average risk for colon cancer. DASC, which has the hospital perfectly positioned to capitalize on colonoscopy volume that's expected to increase in the coming years, was designed to overcome barriers to screening and eliminate the flimsy excuses — too busy, too scared and too hesitant to endure the bowel prepping process (OK, that one has some merit) — patients use to avoid the potentially life-saving test.

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