Information technology and cancer prevention

CA Cancer J Clin. Jan-Feb 2006;56(1):26-36; quiz 48-9. doi: 10.3322/canjclin.56.1.26.


Information technology is rapidly advancing and making its way into many primary care settings. The technology may provide the means to increase the delivery of cancer preventive services. The aim of this systematic review is to examine the literature on information technology impacts on the delivery of cancer preventive services in primary care offices. Thirty studies met our selection criteria. Technology interventions studied to date have been limited to some type of reminder to either patients or providers. Patient reminders have been mailed before appointments, mailed unrelated to an appointment, mailed after a missed appointment, or given at the time of an appointment. Telephone call interventions have not used technology to automate the calls. Provider interventions have been primarily computer-generated reminders at the time of an appointment. However, there has been limited use of computer-generated audits, feedback, or report cards. The effectiveness of information technology on increasing cancer screening was modest at best. The full potential of information technology to unload the provider-patient face-to-face encounter has not been examined. There is critical need to study these new technologic approaches to understand the impact and acceptance by providers and patients.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Services*
  • Medical Audit
  • Medical Informatics / trends*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / trends*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Reminder Systems
  • Telephone