THURSDAY, Feb. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The ability to self-order screening kits through electronic reminders may act as a commitment device that increases colorectal cancer (CRC) screening uptake, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Erin E. Hahn, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, and colleagues compared the effectiveness of a commitment device (patient self-ordering fecal immunochemical test [FIT] kits through an electronic screening reminder) to standard CRC screening outreach (mailed kits sent to those who did not use the order button in the electronic reminder). The analysis included 176,231 participants.

The researchers found that 10 percent of participants used the self-order button. Those who used the button had higher odds of completing a kit versus participants who were automatically mailed kits (odds ratio, 3.77). Among those using the self-order button, 63 percent of those eligible completed a FIT kit in the year prior to the button becoming available versus 87 percent in the year after the button became available.

“Scalable tools leveraging existing patient portals such as this can complement existing CRC outreach strategies,” the authors write.

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