Why is the Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard needed?
High quality colonoscopy is critical to the early detection and treatment of bowel cancer.
In Australia, screening for bowel cancer occurs through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). Planned expansion of the NBCSP means that by 2020, all eligible Australians aged between 50 and 74 will be invited to screen every two years, with an associated increase in the number of diagnostic colonoscopies.
Evidence-based guidelines describe when colonoscopy should be used and how frequently testing should occur, according to the patient’s presenting symptoms, history and risk.
The quality of colonoscopy is also important for minimising the risk of complications from the procedure. While the risk of complication is relatively small, a large number of people undergo colonoscopy, many of whom are not diagnosed with any disease.
More than 900,000 colonoscopies are performed in Australia annually. Despite the large number of procedures performed annually, there is considerable geographic variation in diagnostic colonoscopy, with up to a 30-fold variation in rates of Medicare Benefits Schedule funded colonoscopies across Australia.