In the new study, Tom Sequist and colleagues randomized half of the patients who were overdue for colonoscopy to receive an electronic message from their physician. The message highlighted that the patient was overdue and provided a link to a webpage that allowed patients to get a personalized colorectal cancer risk assessment. The other group received usual care.
One month after the message was sent, the patients who received the message were more likely to have been screened. Half of patients sent the electronic message viewed it and 9 percent completed the risk assessment. Those who used the tool were twice as likely to get screened than those in the message group who didn’t use the personalized risk tool.
This study is groundbreaking as it moves beyond the interventions that provide generic information about the screening process to information specifically about the individual patient risk.