Prepare to be deluged with formulaic and yet terribly well organised campaigns. This month's good cause is breast cancer, November's will be bowel cancer. And who could take exception to campaigns for more and better services?

Up to now, the Internet-based technology to support such campaigns has been limited to encouraging e-mail write-ins, informing activists of progress and, to a small degree, connecting activists to MPs and other influential figures. Even in the more sophisticated US political arena things haven't got much further.

So, enter Advocacyonline. net, which launched earlier this month alongside the UK Breast Cancer Coalition's campaign to empower patients to demand better care.

In short, the organisation provides a campaign toolkit, from which its client organisation can select the activities it wants to use - lobbying MPs, getting the media onside or visiting the local health authority to press its case.

Advocacy Online can draw from its databases the names and contact details for your organisation's local political leaders and newspapers, and, perhaps more relevant to you, NHS managers. It then goes on to generate pre-addressed letters, campaign materials and even biographical background. If a volunteer clicks 'meet your MP' the day after a similar request by another constituent, the two are put in touch by e-mail. And campaign organisers can access tables of consolidated data revealing who has been lobbied and what response they gave.

The UK Breast Cancer Coalition is keen to highlight the differences in five-year survival rates between health authorities as part of its campaign, funded through an educational grant from pharmaceutical company Roche.

But the possibilities are obviously endless.

A great step forward in patient empowerment, or another opportunity for big business to exercise its financial muscle? You choose.