High Quality Colonoscopy: The Stat of the Future

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (https://www.nlm.nih.gov), a groundbreaking 14.2 million colonoscopies were performed in 2002. Gradually, this number has been on the rise as patients turn to colonoscopies for early detection of colon cancer, the third leading cause of death among cancers in the United States (www.cancer.org). Out of these 14.2 million plus colonoscopies, what percentage are high quality? Unfortunately, you can’t find a statistic for that at the present time, but you may be able to in the future.

The American Gastroenterology Association recently released an excellent video on what makes a colonoscopy high quality. The video intrigued Dr. Joseph G. Shami of Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey (GANJ) and we discussed his thoughts. “This is all new,” Dr. Shami explained. “The physician report card is on the horizon and will include all this data that patients will be seeing.”

While patients unhappy with their colonoscopy are few and far between—with Dr. Shami explaining that he’s only seen a couple in the last year—GANJ is motivated to provide the best quality of care in sync with patient feedback. Many measures can be taken by the patient to ensure their colonoscopy is high quality. As the video explains, questions to ask your doctor (“How often do you reach the start of the large intestine?” and “How often do you find polyps during routine screenings?”) go a long way in ensuring you are getting the most out your colonoscopy. As the video puts it best, colonoscopies save lives. You, the patient, want the highest possible quality colonoscopy to ensure your optimal health.

On a side note, Dr. Shami will appear on the American Health Network airing this Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 1 p.m. on CBS following the NCAA basketball game. The video will be reposted on all social media outlets in case you miss it.