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Evidence-based prompts for patients and clinicians:

Provider & Patient Reminders: Multi-strategy Prevention Tools (P-PROMPT)

Prevention is one of the best stages to introduce a health intervention, and as such, the Ontario government has set target rates for regular, preventative screening for certain key conditions. For example, the targets are 90 and 95 percent of eligible women screened for breast and cervical cancer, but little more than half of eligible women are up to date with screening measures.

Meeting these targets is a key goal for Ontario health care practitioners, but significant challenges need to be overcome. The organizational framework necessary to keep track of eligibility is lacking, and the logistics required to track and encourage patients to receive preventative care is prohibitively complex.

McMaster researchers have developed a software system to help physicians track and remind patients of their preventative screening eligibilities. The project is known as: Provider & Patient Reminders: Multi-strategy Prevention Tools (P-PROMPT).

P-PROMPT features:

  • Synchronization of patient demographics (including dates of recent tests) from external sources with the physician’s own patient roster
  • External sources include the Ontario Ministry of Health, Ontario Breast Screening Program of Cancer Care Ontario, and Cytobase, covering nearly 100% of mammograms and pap smears in Ontario
  • .Reminders sent to providers and patients: physicians receive lists of patients due for screening, and (subject to physician approval), letters are automatically mailed to patients to remind them of screening.

P-PROMPT goals:

Simplify tracking of patients due for testing (to better enable physicians to encourage screening), in order to increase rates of mammography, pap smears, as well as child immunizations and fecal occult blood tests.

P-PROMPT results:
After a year in trial with 249 physicians and 350,000 patients, positive results were obtained:

  • Large increases in preventative care delivery: 10,000 additional women were screened, compared to baseline.
  • The rate of eligible women up to date with mammogram and pap screening increased from 68% to 75%.
  • Physicians report high levels of satisfaction with the program, and it is being expanded to help promote management of chronic diseases.

Knowledge Translation at McMaster
P-PROMPT is the result of the efforts of McMaster researchers to address the problem of low preventative screening rates. With this novel software system, physicians have demonstrably increased the number of screenings. The project was awarded the winner of the Ontario Health Minister’s “2007 Innovation Award in Health Information Management ”.

P-PROMPT demonstrates how innovative research can be translated into a practical service with genuine health benefits. P-PROMPT addresses the problem of transfer of information between physicians and patients. The P-PROMPT system helps both parties receive relevant information regarding screening eligibility, in order to promote preventative screening measures.

Contact Information:
Dr. Rolf Sebaldt <sebaldt@mcmaster.ca>