How can I use my electronic health record to improve preventive cancer care?

The Basics

Electronic health records (EHRs) can improve health care quality, your ability to provide preventive cancer care to your patients, and patient outcomes. EHRs can:

  • Generate lists of patients who are due for cancer screenings: With an EHR, you can quickly generate lists of patients who have not received cancer screenings and use the data to proactively reach out to and screen patients.1
  • Remind you when a patient needs preventive care: Using clinical decision support rules, EHR s can automatically notify you when patients are eligible for preventive cancer care.
  • Help you analyze and display patient data and track trends over time: EHRs make it easier to collect and analyze data about your patients in a meaningful way, which can enable you to track patients over time and identify trends associated with cancer.

In one study of ambulatory care practices in New York, researchers found EHR use was associated with significantly higher health care quality for breast cancer and colorectal cancer screening.2 By placing information at your fingertips, providing you with reminders when you need them, and enabling you to better compute and analyze data, EHRs can improve your ability to provide preventive cancer care in ways that matter to patients.

Meaningful Use

One of the best ways to ensure you take full advantage of the benefits of electronic health records and improve health care quality, preventive cancer care, and patient outcomes in your organization is to achieve meaningful use. By achieving meaningful use, you can reap benefits beyond financial incentives.

Patient Outcomes

Learn about patients who have seen the benefits of electronic health records and the value of health IT in cancer care.


  1. Poon EG, Wright A, Simon SR, Jenter CA, Kaushal R, Volk LA, Cleary PD, Singer JA, Tumolo AZ, Bates DW. “Relationship between use of electronic health record features and health care quality: results of a statewide survey.” Med Care. 2010.
  2. Kern LM, Barrón Y, Dhopeshwarkar RV, Edwards A, Kaushal R, HITEC Investigators. “Electronic Health Records and Ambulatory Quality of Care.” J Gen Intern Med. 2012.
Content last reviewed on June 30, 2019
Was this page helpful?