I cannot believe the paper and electrons wasted on this. As reported by Reuters, the March 27 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine includes an article from a Dr. Rajeev Chaudry and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic. They developed a Web-based system, known as the PREventive Care REminder System (PRECARES), to help their secretaries arrange breast cancer screening for patients in their group practice. This system kicks out a list of women due for a mammogram in the next three months, and the staff sends out reminder letters. They will follow up with a second letter and phone call to try to schedule an appointment. About 65% of women carried in the system were scheduled for their mammograms, versus about 55% for those who were not. A smaller analysis found no difference between using email or standard mail for the reminders.
Well, knock me over! I’ve written here many times urging physicians to implement follow-up for routine preventive care, everything from mammograms to colonoscropy to cholesterol to whatever. Ophthalmologists do it, dentists do it, but primary care physicians can’t do it? OK, here’s another incentive – preventive visits are often not covered by insurance, so it’s cash and at full fee – even if you create a “discounted” package price depending upon, say, the patient’s age. Once upon a time, car mechanics had a preventive maintenance schedule to follow for cars, and they had package pricing for doing all of the manufacturer’s recommended work. Well, the concept is the same here. You’re practicing good medicine, you’re acting as the patient’s advocate and advisor on health matters, AND you’re getting paid. The medical equivalent of the Trifecta.
I’m glad the study was done, I guess, I’m just jealous that I didn’t think of it myself.
So, if you don’t have a recall system in place – put one in place.