Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Selection of patients for large mailed fecal immunochemical test colorectal cancer screening outreach programs: A systematic review



Digital health care offers an opportunity to scale and personalize cancer screening programs, such as mailed outreach for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. However, studies that describe the patient selection strategy and process for CRC screening are limited. Our objective was to evaluate implementation strategies for selecting patients for CRC screening programs in large health care systems.


We conducted a systematic review of 30 studies along with key informant surveys and interviews to describe programmatic implementation strategies for selecting patients for CRC screening. PubMed and Embase were searched since inception through December 2018, and hand searches were performed of the retrieved reference lists but none were incorporated (n = 0). No language exclusions were applied.


Common criteria for outreach exclusion included: being up-to-date with routine CRC screening (n = 22), comorbidities (n = 20), and personal history (n = 22) or family history of cancer (n = 9). Key informant surveys and interviews were performed (n = 28) to understand data sources and practices for patient outreach selection, and found that 13 studies leveraged electronic medical care records, 10 studies leveraged a population registry (national, municipal, community, health), 4 studies required patient opt-in, and 1 study required primary care provider referral. Broad ranges in fecal immunochemical test completion were observed in community clinic (n = 8, 31.0-59.6%), integrated health system (n = 5, 21.2-82.7%), and national regional CRC screening programs (n = 17, 23.0-64.7%). Six studies used technical codes, and four studies required patient self-reporting from a questionnaire to participate.


This systematic review provides health systems with the diverse outreach practices and technical tools to support efforts to automate patient selection for CRC screening outreach.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View