A Personalized Approach of Patient–Health Care Provider Communication Regarding Colorectal Cancer Screening Options


Background. Current colorectal cancer screening guidelines by the US Preventive Services Task Force endorse multiple options for average-risk patients and recommend that screening choices should be guided by individual patient preferences. Implementing these recommendations in practice is challenging because they depend on accurate and efficient elicitation and assessment of preferences from patients who are facing a novel task. Objective. To present a methodology for analyzing the sensitivity and stability of a patient’s preferences regarding colorectal cancer screening options and to provide a starting point for a personalized discussion between the patient and the health care provider about the selection of the appropriate screening option. Methods. This research is a secondary analysis of patient preference data collected as part of a previous study. We propose new measures of preference sensitivity and stability that can be used to determine if additional information provided would result in a change to the initially most preferred colorectal cancer screening option. Results. Illustrative results of applying the methodology to the preferences of 2 patients, of different ages, are provided. The results show that different combinations of screening options are viable for each patient and that the health care provider should emphasize different information during the medical decision-making process. Conclusion. Sensitivity and stability analysis can supply health care providers with key topics to focus on when communicating with a patient and the degree of emphasis to place on each of them to accomplish specific goals. The insights provided by the analysis can be used by health care providers to approach communication with patients in a more personalized way, by taking into consideration patients’ preferences before adding their own expertise to the discussion.

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figshare SAGE Publications



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