AI tool shows ‘clinically significant impact’ on completion of cancer screening

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Key takeaways:

  • AI-driven navigation tool nearly doubled completion of colonoscopies among patients who did not keep their initial appointment.
  • Tool to be evaluated in other screening programs.

Researchers at Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed an AI-based patient navigation tool that may increase completion of colonoscopies among individuals who canceled or did not show for an initial appointment.

An analysis of the quality improvement initiative’s impact, scheduled for presentation at ASCO Annual Meeting, revealed a near doubling of completed colonoscopies among no-shows after engagement with the bilingual patient navigation tool named MyEleanor.

completion rates.
Data derived from Moadel AB, et al. Abstract 100. Presented at: ASCO Annual Meeting; May 31-June 4, 2024; Chicago.

“Our AI virtual navigator demonstrated high feasibility through high levels of patient acceptance and engagement, with a clinically significant impact on patient reengagement with cancer screening,” Alyson Moadel, PhD, deputy director of community engagement and cancer health equity at Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center, said during a presentation.

The Montefiore Einstein patient population in the Bronx primarily comprised those from historically underserved communities (44% Hispanic, 39% Black). These same patients face the largest disparities in treatment outcomes because many do not receive routine screening procedures, which results in later-stage diagnosis.

The institution developed the automated care assistant to aid its patient navigation staff with follow-up on those who missed their appointments. Available in English and Spanish, MyEleanor provided patients with procedure reminders and offered live transfers to clinical staff for rescheduling, all while evaluating for patterns that identify barriers to access.

Study researchers evaluated the tool’s impact on colonoscopy completion rates, patient volume, factors serving as barriers to undergoing the procedure and any characteristics predictive of patient engagement with the AI-based tool.

Between April and December of 2023 Montefiore Einstein evaluated MyEleanor in 2,400 adults who did not keep their original colonoscopy appointment as part of their quality improvement national project.

Patient volume for colonoscopy increased by 36% during the study period.

Over half (57%) of patients engaged with MyEleanor; of these, 58% accepted the navigation tools’ live chat offer to reschedule appointments.

Researchers also observed a near-doubling of the colonoscopy completion rate among initial no-shows, from 10% to 19%.

Study participants identified transportation issues as the largest impediment to completing colonoscopy; other factors included mistrust of medical providers and fear of the findings. The results highlight “some of the psychosocial nuances related to patient engagement,” Moadel said.

Researchers next plan to assess the tool for patient satisfaction and feasibility in other cancer screening programs.

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