Katie Couric’s on-air colonoscopy in 2000 was just one element of a larger awareness-raising effort that helped increase the colorectal cancer screening rate among eligible adults from about 25% a decade ago to 60%, according to 2008 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Yet experts have looked for ways to help primary care physicians push the rate even higher. Screening all eligible patients for colon cancer could prevent an estimated 75,000 cases annually through the timely removal of precancerous polyps, according to the American Cancer Society.
Now there is more evidence that time-squeezed doctors weighed down with recommending ever more preventive health measures need help getting patients screened.
A randomized controlled trial at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a 14-site multispecialty group practice in eastern Massachusetts, found that mailing individualized screening reminders to patients worked better than using electronic medical records to alert physicians. The results from the study of 110 doctors and 21,860 patients were published in the Feb. 23 Archives of Internal Medicine.
The whole shebang.