Colorectal Cancer Screening Video Decision Aid

An Effective Practice

This practice has been Archived and is no longer maintained.


The colorectal cancer screening video decision aid helps patients at primary care practices understand their options for screening. Poor communication between patients and providers about the availability of effective screening options is a contributing factor in low rates of colon cancer screening. Participants in the intervention watch an 11-minute educational video on colon cancer that includes information about cancer susceptibility and what screening tests are available. The video uses simple language and concepts to explain screening options and the meaning of receiving a negative or positive result. The video also used scenes of patients discussing their screening experiences. Participants choose one of three color-coded brochures that reinforce the main messages of the video and correspond with a patient's interest in screening. A matching color-coded card is placed in the patient chart for reference by the provider.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this video decision aid is to inform patients of their colorectal cancer screening options and increase screening rates.

Results / Accomplishments

The video decision aid was evaluated using a randomized controlled trial comparing the intervention group with a control group that viewed a video about automobile safety. Fecal occult blood testing or flexible sigmoidoscopy was ordered for 47.2% of intervention participants and only 26.4% of controls (difference, 20.8 percentage points, CI 8.6 to 32.9 percentage points). Screening tests were completed by 36.8% of the intervention group and only 22.6% of the control group (difference 14.2 percentage points, CI 3.0 to 25.4 percentage points).

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Michael Pignone
Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology
University of North Carolina
CB 7110
5039 Old Clinic Building
University of North Carolina Hospital
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 966-2276
Health / Cancer
Health / Prevention & Safety
University of North Carolina Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology
Annals of Internal Medicine
Date of publication
Date of implementation
May 1998
North Carolina
Target Audience