When you’re looking for a new doctor, what criteria go into making your decision? You probably start by checking your insurance for an in-network provider. Next, you might narrow down the list by location, office hours, convenience of scheduling, and personal recommendations. All of these are great items to consider, and they should play a role in your decision. But when it comes to choosing a qualified gastroenterologist to perform your colonoscopy, there’s one item that matters most: adenoma detection rate.
Adenoma detection rate, or ADR, is a numeric value that represents the percentage of times your gastroenterologist detects a precancerous polyp during screening colonoscopies. This number is considered a benchmark of quality and care, as it indicates how thorough your doctor will be during your examination.
Although gastroenterologists undergo the most extensive training in performing colonoscopies, their rates of polyp detection can vary significantly. When interviewing gastroenterologists to perform your procedure, look for a physician with an ADR of at least 25 percent in men and 15 percent in women. The higher the ADR, the better. Research shows that for every 1 percent increase in a physician’s ADR, your risk of developing colon cancer over the next year decreases by 3 percent.
You may feel a little uneasy asking your potential doctor about providing an ADR, but rest assured that this is a reasonable request. Qualified gastroenterologists take pride in their hard-earned ADRs, and they will be happy to share this information with you. You should also inquire about your physician’s average withdrawal time, which is the amount of time it takes to remove the scope from the colon. You want a gastroenterologist with an average withdrawal time of at least six minutes.
Finding the right gastroenterologist may require a bit of courage and assertiveness, but it is well worth the effort. Make a list of questions to ask when interviewing potential physicians, and be sure include ADR and average withdrawal time. A high-quality physician is the key to a thorough examination and a future without colon cancer.