A reminder, delivered via electronic health system reminder, may help increase human papillomavirus vaccine adherence among young female patients, study findings published in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine indicate.

“This age demographic often includes a group of patients that typically don’t go to the doctor as often as other groups unless they are ill,” said Mack Ruffin IV, MD, MPH, professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in a university press release.

To compare initiation and completion of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine rates among young female patients, the investigators followed patients who received a reminder prompt (n=6,019) and patients who did not receive a reminder prompt (n=9,096). The patients in the prompted cohort were aged a mean of 17.3 years; patients in the unprompted cohort were aged a mean of 18.1 years.

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Significantly more (P<0.001) patients initiated the vaccine in the prompted cohort (34.9%) compared with the unprompted cohort (21.5%). African Americans, aged 9 to 18 years, with more than three visits during the observation period were significantly more likely to initiate in the prompted cohort (P<0.001). The prompted cohort was significantly more likely (P <0.001) to complete the vaccine series in a timely manner compared with the unprompted cohort.

“Our findings suggest that these prompts through the electronic health system may be a valuable tool in encouraging more people to protect themselves from cancer,” said Ruffin.

“We’re a long way away from achieving the HPV vaccination rates we’d like to see, but our findings potentially identify another valuable step in helping us get closer to our goal.” 


  1. Ruffin MT et al. J Am Board Fam Med. 2015; doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2015.03.140082