New iPad app could improve colon cancer screening rates
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IMAGE: Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center develop colon cancer screening app. view more 

Credit: Wake Forest Baptist

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – March 13, 2018 – Say ordering a cancer screening test was as easy as booking a hotel room online. Would that improve screening rates?

Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center wanted to find out.

The physicians developed a specially designed iPad app with which patients could order a colon cancer screening test while waiting for their doctor. And many did just that.

In a randomized clinical trial, the app doubled the proportion of patients who underwent colon cancer screenings. Findings from the study are published in the early online edition of the April issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Previous research has shown that screening for colon cancer reduces mortality, yet more than one-third of age-eligible Americans go unscreened every year. Colon cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

“Many barriers contribute to low screening rates, including patients’ negative attitudes about the tests, lack of awareness of the need for screening and competing demands for busy doctors’ scarce time,” said the study’s lead author, David P. Miller, M.D., professor of

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