By Aaron Tomes
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related death for both men and women in the United States, therefore, early detection is key. According to recent studies, there are more than 550,000 annual deaths worldwide of colon cancer. That is too many deaths, especially when tools are becoming available to help reduce those numbers.
Healthcare professionals often pursue their career because of a personal experience that has motivated them to prevent, save and heal people from becoming another statistic.
Working sixteen years in endoscopy as a registered nurse with highly respected gastroenterologist, surgeons and anesthesiologists, the number one priority is sending a patient home healthier than when they came to see us. After many conversations, the one common frustration between disciplines is the inconsistencies that obstructed them from delivering the best care possible for their patient.
MedaPrep is a product of a personal journey observing thousands of patients, physicians and family members frustrated with the single most important part of outpatient procedures; the pre-op instructions. Although physician offices, clinics and outpatient healthcare facilities do their best with pre-op instructions; the complexity of the instructions can be extremely confusing, frustrating and intimidating for patients.
Without over-simplifying the solution, pre-op instructions need to be direct, concise and easy to understand. After multiple re-writes to paper instructions, discussions moved toward a program that could deliver pre-op instructions through smart phone technology.
MedaPrep is a computer program, not an app, that is customized at the physician’s office to deliver timed reminders and detailed instructions to the patient. This philosophy was trialed at University of Louisville with Kristine Krueger, MD.
The facilities cancelation rate for endoscopic procedures was approximately 13 percent and they were able to reduce this percentage rate to eight percent after the implementation of MedaPrep. This was a 39 percent reduction in cancellations, that helped the endoscopy navigators and schedulers increase patient engagement, efficiency and increased the number of completed colonoscopies.
Clearly, the number one priority for all healthcare providers is patient safety and quality assurance. Multiple studies and research data conclude that cancerous polyps may be found in both the proximal and distal colon. Colonoscopies allow visualization of the entire colon which confirms this procedure is the gold standard in the detection of small and large polyps regardless of location.
The trend is also changing, according to a recent article about improving quality in colonoscopies, which urged physicians to resist the temptation to pursue more frequent surveillance colonoscopies, and rather focus on improving the quality of their colonoscopy procedures, for example, through increased withdrawal times and higher completion rates.
When a patient is prepped appropriately, they will have a better anesthetic experience, the physician performing the procedure will be successful and it will decrease recovery time significantly. In order to achieve higher completion rates and improve the quality of colonoscopy procedures, the patient must arrive prepared and have a clean colon.
-Aaron Tomes is founder and CEO of MedaPrep.