The effectiveness of a secure email reminder system for colorectal cancer screening

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2009 Nov 14;2009:457-61.


This study looks at the effectiveness of using a secure email system linked to an electronic health record to send reminders to patients in an effort to increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates; 1397 subjects were randomized to receive usual care, a letter reminder or an email reminder which invited patients to pick up a fecal occult blood test at the lab for CRC screening. The number of completed CRC screenings was tallied after a 3 month study period. Rates of CRC screening in the 3 groups were 7.8% in the usual care group, 23.6% in the letter reminder group and 22.7% in the email group. Significant statistical difference was seen between usual care group and letter reminders (p<0.0005) and between usual care and email reminders (p<0.0005) but not between the letter reminders and the email reminders (p=7.11). Email reminders are as effective as letter reminders in increasing CRC screening rates.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reminder Systems*