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Prev Med Rep. 2018 Oct 17;12:210-213. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.10.012. eCollection 2018 Dec.

Effectiveness of automated and live phone reminders after mailed-FIT outreach in a pilot randomized trial.

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Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, OR, USA.
Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Seattle, WA, USA.


The effectiveness of annual mailed fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) outreach is highest when return rates are optimized, which is aided by patient reminders. In a pilot patient-randomized controlled trial in two western Washington clinics of the Sea Mar Community Health Centers, we compared the effectiveness of two phone-based approaches to mailed FIT outreach reminders. In fall 2016, patients ages 50-75, due for colorectal cancer screening, and with a visit in the previous year at either of two clinics, were mailed an introductory letter and FIT. Those who did not return the FIT within 3 weeks (N = 427) were randomized to receive either: a) a series of up to 6 automated phone reminders; or b) the combination of automated and live phone reminders (up to 6 in total). The sole outcome was FIT return within 6 months after the FIT mailing. FIT completion rates were similar in the groups assigned to receive automated calls vs automated plus live calls (40% vs 39%; p = 0.89). The effectiveness of FIT reminder mode differed by language preference (p for interaction = 0.03): among Spanish-preferring patients (n = 106), FIT return rates were higher in the automated-only group than to the auto- plus live-call group (62% vs 39%, p = 0.02). Among English-preferring patients, no difference in modes was observed (n = 279, 32% vs 34%, p = 0.74). We observed no added benefit of live reminder calls in a mailed FIT plus automated call reminder program; our findings may inform efforts to efficiently optimize mailed-FIT outreach programs. identifier NCT01742065.


Colorectal neoplasms; Community health centers; Early detection of cancer; Language

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