Preventive health pamphlets in the emergency department

J Emerg Med. Sep-Oct 1998;16(5):691-4. doi: 10.1016/s0736-4679(98)00079-1.


We conducted a prospective clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of an emergency department informational pamphlet in improving patients' compliance with recommendations that they receive Pap smears, mammograms, and a pneumococcal vaccination. Informational pamphlets were distributed to 1,000 consecutive patients who presented to a university-affiliated emergency department (ED). The pamphlet contained information stating the indications for obtaining routine Pap smears, mammograms, and a pneumococcal vaccination. Target individuals were women 18 years and older and men 65 years and older. Target patients were called approximately 2 months after their ED visits to obtain follow-up data. There were 464 target patients obtained from the 1,000 pamphlets distributed (409 female/55 male), and 68% (316) of the 464 were contacted by telephone for follow-up data. Significantly more women than men had read the pamphlet (62% vs. 8%). Of the women contacted (279), 31.9% (89) were not up to date (UTD) with Pap smears, and 11.2% (10) stated that they had scheduled an appointment for a Pap smear; 14.5% (11) of the women were not UTD with mammograms, and none had scheduled an appointment to receive care. Of the patients over age 65, 67% were not UTD with a pneumococcal vaccination, and no appointments were scheduled to obtain one. We conclude that a significant number of patients who present to this ED are in need of preventive health care. Emergency department informational pamphlets may have a role in improving Pap smear compliance. Women may be more likely then men to read informational pamphlets distributed in the ED.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Pamphlets*
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Preventive Medicine*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology
  • United States
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data


  • Bacterial Vaccines