PURPOSE: We examined associations between experiences of care and adherence to surveillance guidelines among Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries with colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: Using linked data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End results (SEER) cancer registry program and the Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS(®)) patient experience surveys (SEER-CAHPS), we identified local/regional CRC survivors diagnosed in 1999-2009 aged 65+, who underwent surgical resection and completed a CAHPS survey <36 months of diagnosis. Adherence for a 3-year observation period was defined as receiving a colonoscopy; ≥2 carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) tests; and each year had ≥2 office visits and ≥1 computerized tomography test.
RESULTS: Many of the 314 participants reported ratings of a 9 or 10 out of 10 for overall care (55.4%), personal doctor (58.6%), health plan (59.6%), and specialist doctor (47.0%). Adherence to post-resection surveillance was 76.1% for office visits, 36.9% for CEA testing, 48.1% for colonoscopy, and 10.3% for CT Imaging. Overall, 37.9% of the sample were categorized as non-adherent (adhering to ≤1 surveillance guideline). In multivariable models, ratings of personal doctor and specialist doctor were positively associated with adherence to office visits, and ratings of personal doctor were associated with adherence overall.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings point to the potentially important role of patient-provider relationships in adherence to office visits for CRC surveillance. As adherence may increase survival among CRC survivors, further investigation is needed to identify specific components of this relationship that impact office visit adherence, and other potentially modifiable drivers of surveillance guidelines.