Prompting Healthcare Providers Can Increase Cancer Screenings

Provider reminder and recall systems can effectively increase cancer screening with mammography, Pap, fecal occult blood tests, and flexible sigmoidoscopy, according to a Community Guide systematic review published in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

These interventions use systems to inform healthcare providers when individual clients are due (reminder) or overdue (recall) for specific tests.

On the basis of sufficient evidence of their effectiveness, the Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) recommends provider reminder systems to increase use of these screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers. Additional research is needed to determine if provider reminder and recall systems are effective in increasing colorectal cancer screening by colonoscopy.

The Task Force an independent, nonfederal group of public health and prevention experts appointed by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based its findings on a systematic review of scientific studies. Community Guide scientists at CDC led this review, in collaboration with federal and nonfederal experts in research, practice, and policy.

The following article presents results of systematic reviews of effectiveness, applicability, economic efficiency, barriers to implementation, and other harms or benefits of provider reminder and recall interventions to increase screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers.

Baron RC, Melillo S, Rimer BK, Coates RJ, Kerner J, Habarta N, Chattopadhyay S, Sabatino SA, Elder R, Leeks KJ, Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Intervention to increase recommendation and delivery of screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers by healthcare providers: a systematic review of provider reminders. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;38(1):110-7.

Visit Cancer Prevention and Control, Provider-oriented Screening Interventions: Provider Reminders and Recall – Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, and Colorectal Cancer to learn more about this recommendation and related findings. You can learn more about other Community Guide systematic reviews, including additional reviews specific to cancer prevention by visiting Community Guide topics.

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