Patient reminder letters to promote annual mammograms: a randomized controlled trial

Prev Med. 2000 Oct;31(4):315-22. doi: 10.1006/pmed.2000.0718.


Background: This study assessed the effects of a reminder letter from a physician (relative to a mammography facility letter or no letter) on appointment compliance among women 50-74 years of age due for an annual screening mammogram.

Methods: A total of 1,562 women were randomly as signed to the groups. Each Group 1 subject received a reminder letter from her physician, each Group 2 subject received a reminder letter from her mammography facility, and Group 3 served as a control group.

Results: The return rates for Groups 1, 2, and 3 were 47.7, 46.6, and 28.3%, respectively; the overall difference was significant using a chi(2) analysis (P < 0.001). Bonferroni pairwise comparisons indicated no difference between Groups 1 and 2 but significant differences (P < 0.001) between Group 3 and the other two groups. Logistic regression indicated that relative to Group 3, the adjusted odds of returning for Groups 1 and 2 were 2.37 and 2.24, respectively.

Conclusions: Mammography providers and their patients likely will benefit from in-reach reminder systems. Physicians who do not use reminder systems should refer their patients to facilities that use these systems.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Correspondence as Topic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reminder Systems / instrumentation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires