Raising colorectal screening rates could be as simple as an automated message

Colorectal cancer screening rates could be improved if health systems include a "primer message" to patients on their patient portals, a study published Feb. 4 in JAMA Network suggests.

A pool of 2,339 patients were randomly assigned to receive either a standard mailed outreach for a fecal immunochemical test, or the same mailed outreach plus an automated primer notifying them of the upcoming mailed test.

The study found that those receiving the automated primer message were six percent more likely to complete the screening. They also completed their screenings more quickly than those in the control group, the study said.

The results could provide an additional tool for raising colorectal cancer screening rates, which are currently well below the national benchmark of 80 percent.

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