New UCSF-Kaiser Permanente Collaboration

Flu shot clinic staff from across Northern California practiced procedures.
Flu shot clinic staff from across Northern California practiced procedures.

Recognizing that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and that many of these deaths could be prevented with greater use of simple screening tests, UCSF’s Michael Potter, MD, along with Carol Somkin, PhD, of the Kaiser Division of Research, developed an innovative collaboration between UCSF and Kaiser Permanente to promote and offer colorectal screenings in conjunction with flu shot clinics throughout northern California.

In a study outlined in The FLU-FIT Program: An Effective Colorectal Cancer Screening Program for High Volume Flu Shot Clinics, the team showed that 45 percent of eligible members who were given a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit at Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Clara flu shot clinic completed the test within the next three months. Many of those who took the test had not responded to other outreach efforts. 

“The program provides a quick and easy reminder that colorectal cancer screening saves lives,” Potter said.

Apart from recently completing a randomized trial at six additional Kaiser locations, his team is now helping flu shot clinic coordinators in more than 25 Kaiser Permanente locations in Northern California.

Potter and his team have worked extensively on a similar intervention with community clinics in the San Francisco Department of Public Health, with outcomes of a randomized trial reported in The Effectiveness of the FLU–FOBT Program in Primary Care: A Randomized Trial featured in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in July 2011. They recently submitted a proposal to study the translation of this work into practice in community clinics across California and other western states.  More information about this work with community clinics is available on video here.

Potter, a professor of family and community medicine and member of the Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, is director of the San Francisco Bay Area Collaborative Research Network affiliated with the Community Engagement & Health Policy Program of UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).