OBJECTIVES: Patient navigation improves colorectal cancer screening among underserved populations, but limited resources preclude widespread adoption in minority-serving institutions. We evaluated whether a patient's self-selected social contact person can effectively facilitate outpatient screening colonoscopy. METHODS: From September 2014 to March 2017 in an urban tertiary center, 399 black participants scheduled for outpatient screening colonoscopy self-selected a social contact person to be a facilitator and provided the person's phone number. Of these, 201 participants (50.4%) were randomly assigned to the intervention arm for their social contact persons to be engaged by phone. The study was explained to the social contact person with details about colonoscopy screening and bowel preparation process. The social contacts were asked to assist the participants, provide support, and encourage compliance with the procedures. The social contact person was not contacted in the usual care arm, n = 198 (49.6%). We evaluated attendance to the scheduled outpatient colonoscopy and adequacy of bowel preparation. Analysis was performed by intention to treat. RESULTS: The social contact person was reached and agreed to be involved for 130 of the 201 participants (64.7%). No differences were found in the proportion of participants who underwent screening colonoscopy (77.3% vs 77.2%; relative risk = 1.01; 95% confidence interval: 0.91-1.12), but there was a modest increase in the proportion with adequate bowel preparation with social contact involvement (89.1% vs 80.9%; relative risk = 1.10; 95% confidence interval: 1.00-1.21). DISCUSSION: Engaging a patient's social network to serve in the role of a patient navigator did not improve compliance to outpatient screening colonoscopy but modestly improved the adequacy of bowel preparation.
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