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BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2012 Mar 5;12:14. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-12-14.

Evaluation of the use of decision-support software in carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA)-based follow-up of patients with colorectal cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands. c.j.verberne@umcg.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The present paper is a first evaluation of the use of "CEAwatch", a clinical support software system for surgeons for the follow-up of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. This system gathers Carcino-Embryonic Antigen (CEA) values and automatically returns a recommendation based on the latest values.

METHODS:

Consecutive patients receiving follow-up care for CRC fulfilling our in- and exclusion criteria were identified to participate in this study. From August 2008, when the software was introduced, patients were asked to undergo the software-supported follow-up. Safety of the follow-up, experiences of working with the software, and technical issues were analyzed.

RESULTS:

245 patients were identified. The software-supported group contained 184 patients; the control group contained 61 patients. The software was safe in finding the same amount of recurrent disease with fewer outpatient visits, and revealed few technical problems. Clinicians experienced a decrease in follow-up workload of up to 50% with high adherence to the follow-up scheme.

CONCLUSION:

CEAwatch is an efficient software tool helping clinicians working with large numbers of follow-up patients. The number of outpatient visits can safely be reduced, thus significantly decreasing workload for clinicians.

PMID:
22390356
PMCID:
PMC3330015
DOI:
10.1186/1472-6947-12-14
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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