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Am J Manag Care. 2006 Jun;12(6):321-5.

Interactive voice response telephone calls to enhance bone mineral density testing.

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  • 1Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, 1620 Tremont St, Ste 3030, Boston, MA 02120, USA.



Bone mineral density (BMD) testing is a key tool used to diagnose and treat osteoporosis. We assessed the rate of scheduling BMD tests among health plan members at risk for osteoporosis who received interactive voice response (IVR) calls.


Cohort study.


Study patients included persons age 45 years with either a prior fracture or 90 days of glucocorticoid use and all women age 65 years during the 2-year baseline period. The IVR call provided educational content and then offered members an opportunity to transfer to schedule a BMD test. The primary outcome was scheduling a BMD test.


We targeted 1402 health plan members, and 708 (50%) were successfully contacted. Of 54 patients who transferred to schedule a BMD test, only 3 actually did so. Because so few patients scheduled a BMD test, predictors of transfer were examined as a secondary end point. In a multivariate model, only self-reported intention to schedule a BMD test was a significant predictor (odds ratio = 4.4, 95% confidence interval = 2.2, 8.8). Members' age, sex, history of a prior fracture, self-report of a BMD test in the previous 2 years, acknowledgement of barriers to BMD testing, and discussion of BMD testing with one's physician were not related to transferring to schedule a BMD test.


A letter and an IVR call prompted few to schedule a BMD test. More interventions to improve BMD testing should be developed and tested.

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