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Web reminder increases mammography screening


Use of the Web-based Preventive Care Reminder System, or PRECARES, which office staff use to remind patients to schedule a mammogram, helps increase screening rates, according to a report in the March 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Rajeev Chaudhry, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a randomized, controlled trial of the Web-based PRECARES system to determine if automatic reminders can encourage the use of screening.

Overall, 3,326 women were assigned to the intervention group and received two monthly letters starting 3 months before screening was due, with an additional phone call for nonresponsive patients. An additional 3,339 women were assigned to the control group.

"Many preventive screening services can be delivered without involvement of physicians or physician visits, and office staff can manage the preventive service needs of patients, which should also decrease the costs incurred by practices, patients, and insurers," the authors write.

Chaudhry R, Scheitel SM, McMurtry EK, et al. Web-based proactive system to improve breast cancer screening: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:606-611.