Keeping patients up-to-date with screening tests is an important part of my job as a family physician. The most common evidence-based screening interventions in primary care, from mammograms and pap tests to colonoscopies, are effective for lowering cancer mortality. As a result, provincial governments incentivize us to increase our population screening rates for these individual interventions through preventive care bonuses. For example, in Ontario, we receive a large bonus payment if we can demonstrate that 80% of our eligible women have had paps.
Despite this incentive and the good intentions of physicians, screening rates are suboptimal. Some patients are eager and proactively come in for testing, but others are more hesitant to have screening done, they aren’t aware they should, or they simply forget.Automated email reminders sent to patients are boosting population screening rates in this primary care clinic Click To Tweet
Consequently we spend a lot of time and office resources attempting to contact patients (phoning, emailing, snail mailing, and so on) so that we can explain and book these tests. In the end, this work can seem overwhelming to busy clinics. Procrastination turns into neglect, and everyone loses.
Is there an easier way? I think I’ve found it.
Automating Screening Invitations with Ocean
Using Ocean, I built a series of patient-centric reminder questionnaires for the most common screening initiatives: