Objective: To assess cost and cost-effectiveness of immunization reminder/recall systems in the private sector.
Methods: A manual postcard system (mail) was compared with a computer-based telephone system (autodialer) and control. Costs included time costs and the cost of equipment and supplies. The cost per child and the incremental cost of the intervention relative to control were computed. Cost-effectiveness ratios were computed for return visits and for immunizations delivered.
Results: The average cost per child was $2.28 for the mail group and $1.47 for the autodialer group. The incremental visit cost relative to the control was higher for the mail group ($9.52) than for the autodialer group ($3.48). The autodialer was more cost-effective in delivering immunizations: $4. 06 per extra immunization (autodialer) versus $12.82 (mail).
Conclusions: Excluding start-up costs, the autodialer system was most cost-effective. Including autodialer equipment costs, the autodialer system is more cost-effective only for larger practices.