On-time colon cancer screening rates at Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, doubled when the system implemented a centralized electronic registry to identify patients and provide them with reminders and additional support.
Researchers from the Group Health Research Institute configured the health system's electronic health record to flag patients who weren't current on their colon and rectum screenings. Those patients received a reminder letter plus detailed information about the pros and cons of different screening options, according to a newly released study about the intervention, in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Patients who failed to schedule a colonoscopy after receiving the letter and pamphlet were automatically sent a fecal occult blood testing kit in the mail, complete with “illustrated instructions and a postage-paid return envelope,” Group Health said in a news release. If they failed to send in the kit, they received another reminder letter three weeks later.