Colorectal Cancer Screening Program

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. in both men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer mortality.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified three areas in the nation, which include certain areas of Virginia, where colorectal cancer mortality has not kept up with the national trend of earlier detection and decreasing mortality.

To address its unscreened members, Optima Health has implemented a population-based screening project using at-home Fecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT) kits. Annual FIT was recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in their Recommendation Statement1 as equivalent to other screening modalities in life-years gained.

In 2015, Optima Health collaborated with Sentara Quality Care Network (SQCN) physicians to mail almost 1,000 FIT kits to SQCN members non-compliant with colorectal cancer screening recommendations.

  • 200 members used the FIT kit to complete their screening.
  • 16 members who used the FIT kit tested positive.
  • Follow-up with members who tested positive revealed two members with multiple polyps larger than 1cm, and one member with undiagnosed stage III colon cancer.

To build on the success of the 2015 program, and expand the FIT kit service to all of its unscreened members, Optima Health has partnered with BioIQ—a nationally recognized company that has successfully launched health–testing programs serving millions of members for many healthcare organizations.

In 2017, Optima Health and BioIQ mailed over 10,000 FIT kits to Optima Health members.

  • Over 2,000 members used the FIT kit to complete their screening.
  • 160 members who used the FIT kit tested positive.

BioIQ and Optima Health work collaboratively with members and their Primary Care Physicians (PCP).

  • Each member and his/her PCP are notified via mail of the member’s FIT kit results.
  • Members who test positive also receive a phone call from an Optima Health-contracted nurse practitioner who educates the member on the importance of following up with a PCP for additional testing.
  • Optima Health also contacts the PCP a few weeks after the results are available to ensure that the member has scheduled appropriate follow up.

By collaborating with both members and their PCP, Optima Health is able to monitor member outcomes and receive feedback that helps evaluate the effectiveness of the BioIQ FIT kit program. Most feedback to date has been very positive, and constructive critiques have led to improvements in the program which include expanding access to members already receiving regular screenings. Members are drawn to the convenience of FIT screening; there is no prep or anesthesia required, and the screening can be completed in the comfort of a member’s home.

To sign up for a BioIQ FIT kit, members can visit For your convenience, Optima Health is also distributing enrollment cards to provider offices.

If you have questions about the program or recommendations to improve it, please contact your Network Educator.

1 Screening for Colorectal Cancer – U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA June 21, 2016 Volume 315, Number 23, pp 2564-2575.