Memories fade. Like looking through a fogged mirror…or scope
How quickly fades from our minds the delightful memories of our adventures in dreamy Colonoscopyland. In a recent news release from the American College of Surgeons, it was determined that the important details about the appropriate screening schedules for colo-rectal cancer for a patient fades with time.
The study, authored by Dr. Amer Alame, a colorectal surgeon at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, randomly selected 50 post colonoscopy patients for each of 4 time periods since their procedure – 2 months, one, two, and four years. At two months post procedure, nearly everybody, 94%, could recall the date within one month of their colonoscopy. That recall fell to 42%, 30% and 28% by one, two, and four years, respectively.
Perhaps more alarming, the percentage who knew about polyps on their endoscopy was 65.2%, 31.6%, 35.7% and 37.5% in the four groups. Even worse – those who could accurately recall the number of polyps found on their exam was a paltry 39.1%, 10.5%, 7.1% and 6.25%. Well, at least it beats my personal recall of my children’s birthdays and ages.
So this brings us to consider three things:
- In the office, check for original documentation as you might not fully trust the recall for this important screening test.
- Consider the possibility that translating a patient’s recall into the electronic record may transform erroneous information to factoid.
- Given the poor recall of this important procedure, other important health history items may also be inaccurate.
This Blog is just an additional reminder about the importance of colo-rectal cancer screening for our patients. It’s an unfortunate fact that according to 2007-2011 data, four of the highest county rates of age adjusted invasive colon cancer in California occurred in Partnership counties.
Screening saves lives.