Postcards, E-Mail Both Work as Ca Screen Prompts


WASHINGTON — E-mail may be a convenient way to remind patients about routine health screening, but when it comes to mammograms, it's no more effective than the good old-fashioned postcard, according to researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The clinic's primary care unit sent notices to more than 6,600 women over 40, reminding then to come in for a routine mammogram.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women over 40 receive a mammogram every 1–2 years.

Researchers found that the notices work: Women who had received reminders were significantly more likely to show up for a routine screening than were those women who had not received a notice.

Add in immunizations, lipid screens, and other preventive services, and reminders raised the chances of being fully up-to-date by about 50%.

But e-mail was only marginally better than “snail mail” in prompting a mammogram.

Of women who got their notice by computer, 72% came in for screening, versus 68 % who got a postcard.

The difference was not statistically significant, Rajeev Chaudhry and his colleagues reported in a study presented at annual symposium of the American Medical Informatics Association.

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