EU Science Hub

Reducing errors in colorectal cancer screening: Experience from a local screening programme

May 14 2018

The JRC contributed to the evaluation of the Healthcare Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (HFMEA) approach applied in the colorectal cancer screening programme organised by the Milan's local health authority. HFMEA was found to be a useful tool for reducing errors in such screening programmes using faecal occult blood tests (FIT).

Since its introduction in 2001, the Healthcare Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (HFMEA) has shown to improve the quality of services in different healthcare areas.

A multidisciplinary Italian working group - in close collaboration with a scientist from the JRC – applied HFMEA for a local Italian screening programme on colorectal cancer using immunochemical faecal occult blood tests (FIT). The HFMEA methodology was used in Milan's population-based colorectal cancer screening programme, in which eligible citizens between 50 and 69 years were invited for screening every two years using FIT.

The study concluded that the application of HFMEA resulted amongst others in a significant reduction of false-negative results, fewer complaints by the participating population, better communication between all stakeholders (citizens, pharmacies, laboratories, screening programme management).

HFMEA enabled Milan's screening programme to increase its effectiveness, risk reduction and user satisfaction.

Read more in: S. Deandrea et al.: "Implementation of failure mode and effects analysis to the specimens flow in a population-based colorectal cancer screening programme using immunochemical faecal occult blood tests: a quality improvement project in the Milan colorectal cancer screening programme", BMJ Open Quality 7 (2018), 7 . DOI:10.1136/bmjoq-2017-000299