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Electronic System Reminds Patients to Schedule Exams

Electronic System Reminds Patients to Schedule Exams

ROCHESTER, Minnesota—A computerized mail and phone reminder program managed by appointment secretaries significantly increased the percentage of patients undergoing annual mammography at the Mayo Clinic, according to a study by Rajeev Chaudhry, MBBS, MPH, and colleagues (Arch Intern Med 167:606-611, 2007).

The researchers randomized 6,665 women age 40 to 75 to usual care or to an intervention group that received mailings (two monthly letters starting 3 months before they were due for screening) followed by a phone call to nonresponding patients, to remind them to schedule a mammogram.

Among the reminded group, 64.3% had their annual mammogram vs 55.3% of controls (P < .001). There were no significant differences between the two groups for any of the other adult preventive services. A subgroup that also received an email reminder had a 72.2% compliance rate. As the program has expanded following the study period, compliance has now grown to more than 72%, Dr. Chaudhry said, with 86% having had one exam within the previous 2 years.

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