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J Gen Intern Med. 2018 Jan;33(1):72-78. doi: 10.1007/s11606-017-4184-x. Epub 2017 Oct 10.

Effect of Reminding Patients to Complete Fecal Immunochemical Testing: A Comparative Effectiveness Study of Automated and Live Approaches.

Author information

1
Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, OR, USA. Gloria.D.Coronado@kpchr.org.
2
Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, OR, USA.
3
Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Seattle, WA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends multi-component interventions, including patient reminders, to improve uptake of colorectal cancer screening.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to compare the effectiveness of different forms of reminders for a direct-mail fecal immunochemical test (FIT) program.

DESIGN:

Patient-randomized controlled trial.

PARTICIPANTS:

2772 adults aged 50-75, not up to date with colorectal cancer screening recommendations, with a clinic visit in the previous year at any of four participating health center clinics.

INTERVENTION:

Participants were mailed an introductory letter and FIT. Those who did not complete their FIT within 3 weeks were randomized to receive (1) a reminder letter, (2) two automated phone calls, (3) two text messages, (4) a live phone call, (5) a reminder letter and a live phone call, (6) two automated phone calls and a live phone call, or (7) two text messages and a live phone call. Patients with a patient portal account were sent two email reminders, but were not randomized.

MAIN MEASURES:

FIT return rates for each group, 6 months following randomization.

KEY RESULTS:

A total of 255 (10%) participants returned their FIT within 3 weeks of the mailing. Among randomized participants (n = 2010), an additional 25.5% returned their FITs after reminders were delivered (estimated overall return rate = 32.7%). In intention-to-treat analysis, compared to the group allocated to receive a reminder letter, return rates were higher for the group assigned to receive the live phone call (OR = 1.51 [1.03-2.21]) and lower for the group assigned to receive text messages (OR = 0.66 [0.43-0.99]). Reminder effectiveness differed by language preference.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data suggest that FIT reminders that included a live call were more effective than reminders that relied solely on written communication (a text message or letter).

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov/ctc2/show/NCT01742065 .

KEYWORDS:

automated and live reminders; colorectal cancer screening; direct-mail program; fecal testing; federally qualified health centers

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