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Improving Patient Handling of FIT Samples

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol; ePub 2018 Nov 29; Wang, et al

Among a cohort of patients who were not up to date with colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, nearly 20% of fecal immunochemical test (FIT) samples were mishandled, with patient outreach improving this percentage, a recent study found. Researchers performed a prospective study nested within a randomized controlled trial of patients (aged 50‒75 years), who were not up to date with CRC screening. Patients were randomly assigned to usual care or outreach groups that received a mailed FIT with low-literacy level instructions or a reminder call, or both. Frequency of and reasons for mishandled FIT samples were examined. Among the findings:

  • FIT samples were returned from 1,871 patients assigned to usual care and 3,045 who received the low-literacy level instructions and a reminder call.
  • 19.8% of FIT samples were mishandled, most (93.7%) had not labeled the date of stool collection but were still processed.
  • Patient outreach was associated with a lower proportion of mishandled samples (16.5% vs 25.0%).


Wang A, Rachocki C, Shapiro JA, Issaka RB, Somsouk S. Low-literacy level instructions and reminder calls improve patient handling of fecal immunochemical test samples. [Published online ahead of print November 29, 2018]. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2018.11.050.