A cost-effectiveness comparison of three tailored interventions to increase mammography screening

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2004 Oct;13(8):909-18. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2004.13.909.


Background: Mammography is the primary method used for breast cancer screening. However, adherence to recommended screening practices is still below acceptable levels. This study examined the cost-effectiveness of three combinations of tailored telephone and mailed intervention strategies for increasing adherence to mammography.

Methods: There were 1044 participants who were randomly assigned to one of four groups. A logistic regression model with adherence as the dependent variable and group as the independent variable was used to test for significant differences, and a ratio of cost/improvement in mammogram adherence evaluated the cost-effectiveness.

Results: All three of the interventions (tailored telephone, tailored mail, and tailored telephone and mail) had significantly better adherence rates compared with the control group (usual care). However, when also considering costs, one emerged as the superior strategy. The cost-effectiveness ratios for the three interventions show that the tailored mail (letter) was the most cost-effective strategy, achieving 43.3% mammography adherence at a marginal cost of dollar 0.39 per 1% increase in women screened. The tailored mail plus telephone achieved greater adherence (49.4%), but at a higher cost (dollar 0.56 per 1% increase in women screened).

Conclusions: A tailored mail reminder is an effective and economical intervention to increase mammography adherence. Future research should confirm this finding and address its applicability to practice in other settings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / economics
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Correspondence as Topic
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / economics
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / statistics & numerical data
  • Directive Counseling / economics*
  • Directive Counseling / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / economics
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / organization & administration
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mammography* / economics
  • Mammography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reminder Systems / economics*
  • Reminder Systems / statistics & numerical data
  • Telephone
  • Time Factors