Time for a colonoscopy? You may not need a referral

A colonoscopy is one of the best tools out there for detecting pre-cancerous polyps, colorectal cancers and inflammatory bowel disease. And now, it’s easier to schedule a routine colonoscopy with a service called Direct Access Colonoscopy.

Here's what you need to know about this service and if you’re eligible.

What is Direct Access Colonoscopy?

Direct Access Colonoscopy is a simpler way to get screened for colon cancer. HonorHealth offers this service for healthy patients between the ages 50 and 75.

"In the past, patients were required to have a consultation with a gastroenterologist before their colonsocopy," explains Prabhakar Swaroop, MD, a gastroenterologist with HonorHealth. "For patients who qualify, Direct Access Colonoscopy allows them to schedule a screening colonoscopy without first seeing a doctor."

Who’s eligible?

To see if you're eligible, simply call your HonorHealth primary care physician. Medical staff will ask you a few questions to determine if Direct Access Colonoscopy is right for you. This will include your age, your family history and your personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer.

If you are eligible, you can simply schedule the colonoscopy at your convenience. If you aren’t, ask your primary care physician for a referral to a gastroenterologist (GI) for a pre-procedure appointment.

What are the benefits of Direct Access Colonoscopy?

Direct Access Colonoscopy offers many benefits to patients and physicians.

First, it empowers patients to take charge of this preventive health screening and schedule it on their own time.

“It saves you time because you don't need to make an appointment with your GI doctor in the office,” said Dr. Swaroop. This type of colonoscopy saves you money, too, as you avoid paying a co-pay and other related expenses.

Direct Access Colonoscopies also enable doctors to perform endoscopic procedures in a timely and efficient manner while maintaining the highest quality standards.

Who shouldn't get a Direct Access Colonoscopy?

While Direct Access Colonoscopies are appropriate for many people, there are some patients who should always see a GI before they get a colonoscopy. These include people who:

  • Are age 85 or older
  • Are taking blood thinner medication
  • Have recently had diverticulitis
  • Have been diagnosed with heart disease
  • Have been diagnosed with diseases of other major organs, such as the liver or kidneys
  • Are at a high risk for sedation/anesthesia-related complications
  • Have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a history of difficult, complicated or incomplete colonoscopies

If you fall into these categories, talk to your primary care physician before scheduling a colonoscopy.

Learn more

To schedule a colonoscopy or learn more about Direct Access Colonoscopy, please complete this form or contact your HonorHealth primary care physician.

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