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Remember Your Mammogram

Ivanhoe Broadcast News

(Ivanhoe Newswire) Do you forget to schedule those doctor appointments on a regular basis?  A reminder program may lead to more women to scheduling regular mammograms.

In an effort to screen for breast cancer when it is most treatable, the study by Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research found a reminder program, using electronic health records, to identify women who would soon be due for a mammogram. The women were then notified using post cards, automated voice message and personal phone calls. The study found this increased mammography rates by more than 17 percent.

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The study had employees using Kaiser Permanentes electronic health records database identify women, ages 50-69, who had not had a mammogram for 20 months. Starting in January 2006, the women where sent a post card letting them know they would soon be due for another mammogram. If they did not make an appointment by the next month, they received and automated reminder call. After each month, if the woman did not set up an appointment, another automated reminder call followed. Within 10 months of their first reminder, more than 75 percent of these women had completed their mammograms, compared to only 63.4 percent before the program started. After the second year of the reminder program, 80.6 percent of women had completed their mammograms.

We know mammograms are effective, but too many women put them off, even if they have health insurance, Adrianne Felstein, M.D., M.S., an investigator at Kaiser Permanentes Center for Health Research was quoted saying. This study is the first to show that these reminder programs can be effective in such a large group of women. If we could improve the countrys mammography rate by the same amount, we could detect as many as 25,000 additional cases of breast cancer each year.

SOURCE: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2009

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Last updated 7/16/2009

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May 1, 2010
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