Twice as many eligible patients got screened for hepatitis C when it was already ordered for them compared to those who had to request it, according to a new study by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine. Additionally, the patients in the study—whose average age was 63—completed their screenings much more often when they were contacted via mail as opposed to electronic messaging. The study was published in BMJ.
“We think that sending the lab order with outreach was so successful because it framed screening as the default,” says the study’s lead author, Shivan Mehta, the associate chief innovation officer at Penn Medicine. “However, this strategy was also successful because it reduced effort and the number of steps to screen by both the patient and clinician.”