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Racial differences in cancer screening with electronic health records and electronic preventive care reminders



Racial differences in cancer screening with electronic health records and electronic preventive care reminders



Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 21(E2): E264-E269



Health information technology (HIT) can increase preventive care. There are hopes and fears about the impact of HIT on racial disparities in cancer screening. To determine whether electronic health records (EHRs) or electronic preventive care reminders (e-reminders) modify racial differences in cancer screening order rates. Using the 2006-2010 National Ambulatory and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys, we measured (1) visit-based differences in rates of age-appropriate breast, cervical and colon cancer screening orders between white and non-white subjects at primary care visits with and without EHRs, and, at visits with EHRs, with and without e-reminders, and (2) whether EHRs or e-reminders modified these differences. Mammography (N=45,380); Pap smears (N=73,348); and sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy (N=50,955) orders. Among an estimated 2.4 billion US adult primary care visits, orders for screening for breast, cervical or colon cancer did not differ between clinics with and without EHRs or e-reminders. There was no difference in screening orders between non-white and white patients for breast (aOR=1.1; 95% CI 0.9 to 1.4) or cervical cancer (aOR=1.2; 95% CI 1.0 to 1.3). For colon cancer, non-white patients were more likely to receive screening orders than white patients overall (aOR=1.5; 95% CI 1.1 to 2.0), at visits with EHRs (aOR=1.8; 95% CI 1.1 to 2.8) and at visits with e-reminders (aOR=2.1; 95% CI 1.2 to 3.7). EHRs or e-reminders did not modify racial differences in cancer screening rates. In this visit-based analysis, non-white patients had higher colon cancer screening order rates than white patients. Despite hopes and fears about HIT, EHRs and e-reminders did not ameliorate or exacerbate racial differences in cancer screening order rates.

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Accession: 055341135

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24637955

DOI: 10.1136/amiajnl-2013-002439


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