Nurse-Driven Open Access Colonoscopy Program Deemed Effective and Safe
A study from researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, concludes that nurse-driven, open-access colonoscopy programs are as safe and effective as those that rely on pre-procedure consultations with doctors.
In open-access programs, patients seeking a routine colonoscopy screening are scheduled for the procedure without a prior consultation with a gastroenterologist. Instead, nurses review electronic medical records to determine whether patients meet certain health requirements before scheduling the procedure.
Researchers for the hospital examined records for more than 15,000 patients who participated in a nurse-driven, open-access program between 2006 and 2010, and compared results with a group of 6,800 patients who underwent the procedure between 1995 and 2002, after a traditional gastroenterology consultation.
“Referral for colonoscopy without prior gastroenterologist consultation is becoming routine in the United States, but current literature regarding overall safety is limited, so our aim was to compare the safety outcomes of patients enrolled in a large, nurse-driven, open-access protocol to outcomes of patients who were seen first by a gastroenterologist,” says Gregory Olds, M.D., chief of interventional gastroenterology and director of endoscopy at Henry Ford Hospital and co-author of the study. “Our results showed no significant differences in safety outcomes related to perforation rate, emergent surgery, post-polypectomy bleed, overall lower gastrointestinal bleed or death."
Nurses, Other Health Care Workers Delaying Retirement
New research shows that economic uncertainty is prompting nurses and other health care workers in the United States to delay retirement, helping to ease, at least for now, the strain of the nursing shortage.
Compared to other segments of the workforce, “the healthcare industry experienced the largest decline in retirement rates in recent years,” said Gad Levanon, Ph.D., M.A., associate director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board and author of the report. Levanon’s research shows that just 1.55 percent of full-time workers in the field retired during the studied 12-month period, down from almost 4 percent between 2004 and 2007.