Colorectal Cancer Screening Rate Increased by Digital Self-Ordering

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Study participants randomized to the mPATH-CRC group (223 patients) or usual care (227 patients).
Study participants randomized to the mPATH-CRC group (223 patients) or usual care (227 patients).

(HealthDay News) -- Mobile Patient Technology for Health-Colorectal Cancer (mPATH-CRC), a digital health intervention which allows patients to self-order tests, can increase rates of screening, according to a study published online March 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

David P. Miller, Jr., M.D., from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues examined the effect of the mPATH-CRC digital health intervention on rates of CRC screening. A total of 450 patients scheduled for a primary care visit and due for routine CRC screening were randomized to the mPATH-CRC group (223 patients) or usual care (227 patients). The intervention was an iPad application displaying CRC screening decision aids and allowing patients to order their own screening tests. The application also sends automated follow-up support messages to patients.

The researchers found that 30 percent of mPATH-CRC participants and 15 percent of those receiving usual care completed screening within 24 weeks (logistic regression odds ratio, 2.5). Compared with the usual care group, more participants in the mPATH-CRC group could state a screening preference, planned to have a screening within six months, had a discussion about screening with their provider, and ordered a screening test. Fifty-three percent of mPATH-CRC participants used the program to self-order a test.

"A digital health intervention that allows patients to self-order tests can increase CRC screening," the authors write. "Future research should identify methods for implementing similar interventions in clinical care."

Several authors disclosed receiving grants from the institutes funding the study.

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