Thesis Defence - Caitlin Champion

Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

A Systems Analysis Approach to Colorectal Cancer Screening Access in the Northwest Territories

Caitlin Champion
MSc Candidate in Management
Telfer School of Management



The Northwest Territories is a rural and remote setting with higher colorectal cancer rates and lower colorectal cancer screening uptake compared to the rest of Canada. A systems approach to describe and understand the health care processes and system-level factors influencing colorectal cancer screening access was undertaken to inform screening access solutions.


Interview transcripts of semi-structured interviews with health care providers were analyzed using qualitative content analysis methods directed by a Collaborative Information Behaviour (CIB) and Continuity of Care framework.  System models of colorectal cancer screening processes were developed and translated into a design framework for system dynamics modelling.


Eighteen models of colorectal cancer screening access within the territory were identified involving patient interactions supported by information processes, and demonstrated variable system complexity. Screening access problems identified on the basis of high or low system complexity included screening initiation, colonoscopy scheduling, screening recall and information silos, and were influenced by multiple contextual factors including a transient health work force, social health determinants, and patient travel.  Qualitative models were translated into a system dynamics (SD) design framework requiring simplified representation of health system interrelationships.


In developing screening access solutions in the Northwest Territories, the foundational role of information behaviours and the need for consideration of trade-offs in system transformation are necessary considerations. Optimizing information behaviours through the utilization of health informatics tools such as standardized referral forms and EMRs may improve system-wide screening access.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Telfer School of Management
Desmarais Building
DMS 7136
55 Laurier Avenue East
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
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