A Systems Analysis Approach to Colorectal Cancer Screening Access In the Northwest Territories

Title: A Systems Analysis Approach to Colorectal Cancer Screening Access In the Northwest Territories
Authors: Champion, Caitlin
Date: 2016
Abstract: Introduction The Northwest Territories as a rural and remote region of Canada has higher colorectal cancer rates and lower uptake of colorectal cancer screening compared to the rest of the country. Understanding the complex health system processes involved in screening is necessary to develop informed solutions to improve screening access amongst marginalized populations. A systems approach to describe and understand the health care processes and system-level factors influencing colorectal cancer screening access was undertaken. Methods Semi-structured interviews with health care providers (N=29) involved in colorectal cancer screening in all health authorities within the Northwest Territories (N=8) were performed from September to December 2015. Interview transcripts were analyzed using qualitative content analysis methods within a Collaborative Information Behaviour (CIB) and Continuity of Care framework. Exploratory models of colorectal cancer screening processes were developed and translated into quantitative parameters for simulation modelling. Results Colorectal cancer screening access was defined by patient health care interactions supported by foundational information processes. Eighteen models of colorectal cancer screening access within the territory were identified, with varying complexity in care access seen across communities. Screening access problems included screening initiation, colonoscopy scheduling, screening recall and information silos, and were influenced by multiple contextual factors including a transient health work force, social health determinants, and patient travel. Qualitative models were translated into a system dynamics (SD) design framework for development of further quantitative modeling. Conclusions Colorectal cancer screening access in the Northwest Territories is a complex process comprising patient interactions and information processes linking primary care and hospital care processes, which are influenced by challenging contextual factors in the rural and remote health care environment. In developing screening access solutions the foundational role of information support and the need for system trade-offs in restructuring health system processes are necessary considerations. Optimizing information processes through the utilization of health informatics tools such as standardized referral forms and EMRs may also support health system transformation to improve screening access across the Northwest Territories. Understanding and evaluating system trade-offs may be best achieved using a combination of qualitative and quantitative modeling through future application of SD modeling research.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35547
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -