A pre-appointment phone call improves attendance and quality of bowel prep for flexible sigmoidoscopy: A prospective study

D. T. Nason, R. K. Hsu, Joseph Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Flexible sigmoidoscopy is effective in identifying patients at risk for developing colon cancer. It is imperative that scheduling and use of time is optimized in order to accommodate the many eligible patients. Yet, patients frequently miss appointments or need to be rescheduled because of a poor prep. Aim: To determine if calling patients several days prior to their appointments would have any impact on the number of people keeping their appointments and the quality of the preps. Method: Patients referred for flexible sigmoidoscopy from a resident-based primary care clinic between 9/1-11/21, 1996 were included in the study Patients were called 2-3 days in advance to answer questions regarding the procedure and the proper preparation. A total of 46 patients were scheduled for the procedure either for colon cancer screening or for minor symptoms attributable to the lower GI tract. 17/46 patients were contacted by phone prior to their appointment, 29/46 were not contacted. Patients were categorized as 1)having the procedure done, 2)canceling their appointment prior to the procedure time or 3)not showing up for their exam. The endoscopists were blinded as to who did and did not receive a phone call and the preps were graded as excellent (clean colon with complete visualization of the mucosa), good (liquid stool but complete visualization with irrigation), and poor (large amount of liquid and/or formed stool preventing complete visualization). Results: Pt called Pt not called (p) N=46 17 29 canceled 6 6 - no show 1 5 0.11 performed 10 18 0.42 procedures performed Pt called Pt not called (p) N = 28 10 18 excellent 5 4 0.08 prep good 4 9 0.31 poor 1 5 0.12 Conclusion: The early trends in this ongoing prospective trial clearly indicate that patients who are contacted by phone in advance of their scheduled procedures are more likely to keep their appointments and are also more likely to have a good or excellent prep, thus decreasing the number of procedures that have to be repeated because of a poor prep. Therefore, a simple phone call reminding patients of their appointments will improve compliance and increase the number of flexible sigmoidoscopies that can be performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGastrointestinal Endoscopy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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