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Patel MS, Volpp KG, Small DS, Wynn C, Zhu J, Yang L, Honeywell S, Day SC. Using active choice within the electronic health record to increase physician ordering and patient completion of high-value cancer screening tests. Healthcare (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2016 Dec 1; 4(4):340-345.
BACKGROUND: High value screening tests such as colonoscopy and mammography can improve early cancer detection but are often underutilized. METHODS: We evaluated an active choice intervention using the electronic health record (EHR) to confirm patient eligibility for colonoscopy or mammography during the patient's clinic visit and prompt the physician and his/her medical assistant to actively choose to "accept" or "cancel" an order for it. We fit multivariate logistic regression models using a difference-in-differences approach to evaluate changes in physician ordering and patient completion of colonoscopy and mammography at the intervention practice compared to two control practices, adjusting for time trends, patient and clinic visit characteristics. RESULTS: The sample comprised 7560 patients due for colonoscopy and 8337 patients due for mammography. Pre-intervention trends between practices did not differ. In the adjusted models, compared to the control group over time, the intervention practice had a significant increase in ordering of colonoscopy (11.8% points, 95% CI: 8.0-15.6, P < 0.001) and mammography (12.4% points, 95% CI: 8.7-16.2, P < 0.001). There was a significant increase in patient completion of colonoscopy (3.5% points, 95% CI: 1.1-5.9, P < 0.01), but no change in mammography (2.2% points, 95% CI: -1.0 to 5.5, P = 0.18). CONCLUSIONS: Active choice through the EHR was associated with an increase in physician ordering of colonoscopy and mammography. The intervention was also associated with an increase in patient completion of colonoscopy but no change in patient completion of mammography.