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Br J Cancer. 2015 Mar 17;112(6):1005-10. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2015.36.

Text-message reminders increase uptake of routine breast screening appointments: a randomised controlled trial in a hard-to-reach population.

Author information

1
Health Behaviour Research Centre, Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
2
Public Health England, Wellington House, 133-155 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UG, UK.
3
West of London Breast Screening Service, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, First Floor, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RF, UK.
4
Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.
5
London Borough of Sutton, Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is a need for interventions to promote uptake of breast screening throughout Europe.

METHODS:

We performed a single-blind randomised controlled trial to test whether text-message reminders were effective. Two thousand two hundred and forty women receiving their first breast screening invitation were included in the study and randomly assigned in a 1 : 1 ratio to receive either a normal invitation only (n=1118) or a normal invitation plus a text-message reminder 48 h before their appointment (n=1122).

FINDINGS:

In the intention-to-treat analysis, uptake of breast screening was 59.1% among women in the normal invitation group and 64.4% in the text-message reminder group (χ(2)=6.47, odds ratio (OR): 1.26, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.05-1.48, P=0.01). Of the 1122 women assigned to the text-message reminder group, only 456 (41%) had a mobile number recorded by their GP and were thereby sent a text. In the per-protocol analysis, uptake by those in the control group who had a mobile number recorded on the GP system was 59.77% and by those in the intervention group who were sent a reminder 71.7% (χ(2)=14.12, OR=1.71, 95% CI=1.29-2.26, P<0.01).

INTERPRETATION:

Sending women a text-message reminder before their first routine breast screening appointment significantly increased attendance. This information can be used to allocate resources efficiently to improve uptake without exacerbating social inequalities.

PMID:
25668008
PMCID:
PMC4366892
DOI:
10.1038/bjc.2015.36
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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