Feature March 15, 2022 John Bernot, MD

The digital transformation of colonoscopy prep

Here are 5 ways a digital health tool can improve colonoscopy prep by increasing patient engagement and education in the days leading up to the procedure.

The digital transformation of colonoscopy prep

More than 15 million Americans undergo a screening, surveillance, or diagnostic colonoscopy annually.1

While early detection has helped reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC), inadequate bowel preparation for colonoscopies significantly impacts gastroenterologists’ ability to complete the procedure effectively, resulting in: 

  • 25% failure rate to complete a high-quality colonoscopy2
  • 42-48% missed rate of polyp detection2

Poor adherence to preparation instructions and improper timing3 are the primary reasons bowel preparation before a colonoscopy is inadequate. 

Read on to learn how the right digital health tool can educate patients during colonoscopy prep and ensure adequate bowel preparation on the day and time of the procedure. 

Why is colonoscopy prep challenging?

One of the most significant challenges patients face with colonoscopy prep is understanding what to do and when.

Here is an example of the colonoscopy preparation instructions I share with patients. 

It details steps to complete five days, three days, and one day before the procedure. It also includes what not to do leading up to the colonoscopy. 

The instructions can be confusing and difficult to follow for colonoscopy first-timers and those with low health literacy

According to research by the Cleveland Clinic, digital health tools are effective in “driving patient education surrounding colonoscopy preparation,” resulting in better outcomes and fewer repeat procedures.

How digital health tools can make colonoscopy preparation easier

Here are five ways a digital health tool can be used to make colonoscopy prep easier and better educate patients leading up to the procedure:  

  1. Communicate the right information at the right time. Optimal colonoscopy prep requires a series of actions, including the need to purchase laxatives and other items in advance. Telling patients what to do and when can reduce confusion over how to follow the instructions correctly in the days leading up to the procedure. 
  2. Create daily to-do lists that patients can check off. Beyond telling patients what to do and when, a digital health tool can make it even easier by giving patients a daily to-do list that they can check off. Engaging patients in this manner lets them—and their care team—know they’re following instructions correctly.
  3. Send reminders about what not to do. Text alerts reminding patients to stop taking medications or avoid certain foods before their procedure is another way to engage them in the prep and make it easier for them to adhere to the instructions. 
  4. Make educational resources available 24/7. Patients may feel uncomfortable asking their physician or nurse about what to expect before, during, and after a colonoscopy. Providing educational resources that patients can review at home or with a trusted caregiver increases the likelihood of being better prepared.  
  5. Offer two-way communication so patients can ask questions. When scheduling their colonoscopy appointment, patients may not know what to ask. It’s in the days leading up to the procedure that they’re most likely to have questions. Allowing them to ask clarifying questions via secure messaging makes task adherence more manageable.

Make Ayva part of your colonoscopy prep process

Ayva is a dynamic patient engagement platform that can help your patients navigate the colonoscopy prep process from home. 

Learn how Ayva can play a critical role in helping your patients be prepared for their next colonoscopy.

Meet Ayva today!


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