Evaluation of the use of decision-support software in carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA)-based follow-up of patients with colorectal cancer

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2012 Mar 5;12:14. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-12-14.

Abstract

Background: The present paper is a first evaluation of the use of "CEAwatch", a clinical support software system for surgeons for the follow-up of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. This system gathers Carcino-Embryonic Antigen (CEA) values and automatically returns a recommendation based on the latest values.

Methods: Consecutive patients receiving follow-up care for CRC fulfilling our in- and exclusion criteria were identified to participate in this study. From August 2008, when the software was introduced, patients were asked to undergo the software-supported follow-up. Safety of the follow-up, experiences of working with the software, and technical issues were analyzed.

Results: 245 patients were identified. The software-supported group contained 184 patients; the control group contained 61 patients. The software was safe in finding the same amount of recurrent disease with fewer outpatient visits, and revealed few technical problems. Clinicians experienced a decrease in follow-up workload of up to 50% with high adherence to the follow-up scheme.

Conclusion: CEAwatch is an efficient software tool helping clinicians working with large numbers of follow-up patients. The number of outpatient visits can safely be reduced, thus significantly decreasing workload for clinicians.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / analysis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical* / instrumentation
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical* / standards
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / immunology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Reference Values
  • Software*

Substances

  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen