Personalized letters increase mammography screening rates

Patients overdue for screening were more likely to return for a mammogram after their family health-care provider sent personalized letter and postcard reminders.

A patient receives a mammogram screening reminder from her provider
A patient receives a mammogram screening reminder from her provider

HealthDay News -- Family health-care providers may be able to improve mammography screenings rates by sending a personalized letter, according to research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco.

To assess the effect of personalized reminder letters on return mammography rates, Elisa K. Chan, MD, of Saint John Regional Hospital in Canada, and colleagues identified 5,385 female patients who received a normal result on a prior mammogram and were overdue for return screening. 

The patients were randomly assigned to receive either a standard postcard reminder (n=2,689 patients) or a postcard reminder plus a personalized reminder letter from their family health care provider (n=2,696 patients).

Patients in the postcard plus letter group were more likely to return for screening mammography within six months compared with patients in the postcard only group (33.2% versus 22.3%; odds ratio, 1.7; P< 0.0001). Multivariable analysis showed that women who had more than one previous screening mammogram were more likely to return than those who had only one previous screening mammogram (OR, 2.2; P<0.0001). Women who were 30 to 36 months overdue were more likely to return for screening mammography than those who were 42 to 48 months overdue (OR, 2.4; P<0.0001).

"A signed family physician reminder letter is a simple and effective intervention to improve screening mammography return rates in overdue women," concluded the researchers.

References

  1. Chan E et al. “Improving screening mammography return rates in overdue women: A randomized study of signed reminder letters from family physicians.” Presented at: American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium. September 4-6; San Francisco, Cali.

Disclosures: Two authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and/or biomedical companies.

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