Brian Dooreck, MD, of Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Centers in Pembroke Pines, Fla., has diagnosed colorectal cancer hundreds of times during his 15 years in practice. Last spring, he realized something important is often left out of conversations with patients: guidance on where patients can find reliable information and moral support. He began formulating a plan to fill this gap.
In early September, Dooreck pitched his idea: the Colorectal Cancer Provider Outreach Program, a text message system to connect patients to these organizations and the free services they provide patients.
Now, when gastroenterologists diagnose CRC, they can instruct their patient to text “COLON” to 484848. Within minutes, the patient will receive a message: “You are not alone. You have our support. Here. Now.”
“The vast majority of our patients use text messaging in all aspects of their life,” said Shivan Mehta, MD, MBA, a gastroenterologist and the associate chief innovation officer at Penn Medicine, in Philadelphia. “To try to think about ways to bring cancer navigation to them through a modality that they’re familiar with certainly seems like it would make a lot of sense.”