Preliminary results of a feasibility study of the use of information technology for identification of suspected colorectal cancer in primary care: the CREDIBLE study
British Journal of Cancer
Cancer Research UK / Nature Publishing Group
Open access. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
BACKGROUND: We report the findings of a feasibility study using information technology to search electronic primary care records and to identify patients with possible colorectal cancer. METHODS: An algorithm to flag up patients meeting National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) urgent referral criteria for suspected colorectal cancer was developed and incorporated into clinical audit software. This periodically flagged up such patients aged 60 to 79 years. General practitioners (GPs) reviewed flagged-up patients and decided on further clinical management. We report the numbers of patients identified and the numbers that GPs judged to need further review, investigations or referral to secondary care and the final diagnoses. RESULTS: Between January 2012 and March 2014, 19,580 records of patients aged 60 to 79 years were searched in 20 UK general practices, flagging up 809 patients who met urgent referral criteria. The majority of the patients had microcytic anaemia (236 (29%)) or rectal bleeding (205 (25%)). A total of 274 (34%) patients needed further clinical review of their records; 199 (73%) of these were invited for GP consultation, and 116 attended, of whom 42 were referred to secondary care. Colon cancer was diagnosed in 10 out of 809 (1.2%) flagged-up patients and polyps in a further 28 out of 809 (3.5%). CONCLUSIONS: It is technically possible to identify patients with colorectal cancer by searching electronic patient records.
We acknowledge the General Practitioners, practice nurses, practice managers and administrative staff who supported this study, our trial co-ordinator Marie Crook, Anthony Ingold who was one of our patient representatives and MSDi for their support in developing the software algorithm. We also acknowledge the support of the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network. This study was funded by the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI). TM is partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) through the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for the West Midlands (CLAHRC-WM) programme.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Cancer Research UK/Nature Publishing Group via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 112, pp. S70 - S76
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