Promoting colorectal cancer screening through a new model of delivering rural primary care in the USA: A qualitative study

J. Kim, Lufei Young, S. Bekmuratova, D. J. Schober, H. Wang, S. Roy, S. S. Bhuyan, A. Schumaker, L. W. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction: Despite the known benefits of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, rural areas have consistently reported lower screening rates than their urban counterparts. Alternative healthcare delivery models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), have the potential to increase CRC rates through collaboration among healthcare providers with the aim of improving quality and decreasing cost. However, researchers have not sufficiently explored how this innovative model could influence the promotion of cancer screening. The purpose of the study was to explore the mechanism of how CRC screening can be promoted in ACO-participating rural primary care clinics. Methods: The study collected qualitative data from in-depth interviews with 21 healthcare professionals employed in ACOparticipating primary care clinics in rural Nebraska. Participants were asked about their views on opportunities and challenges to promote CRC screening in an ACO context. Data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Results: The study found that the new healthcare delivery model can offer opportunities to promote cancer screening in rural areas through enhanced electronic health record use, information sharing and collaborative learning within ACO networks, use of standardized quality measures and performance feedback, a shift to preventive/comprehensive care, adoption of team-based care, and empowered care coordinators. The perceived challenges were found in financial instability, increased staff workload, lack of provider training/education, and lack of resources in rural areas. Conclusions: This study found that the innovative care delivery model, ACO, could provide a well-designed platform for romoting CRC screening in rural areas, if sustainable resources (eg finance, health providers, and education) are provided. This study provides 'practical' information to identify effective and sustainable intervention programs to promote preventive screening. Further efforts are needed to facilitate delivery system reforms in rural primary care, such as improving performance evaluation measures and methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRural and Remote Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Accountable care organizations
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Delivery system innovation
  • Primary care
  • Rural health services
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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