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

Coronado, Gloria D.; Rivelli, Jennifer S.; Fuoco, Morgan J.; Vollmer, William M.; Petrik, Amanda F.; Keast, Erin; Barker, Sara; Topalanchik, Emily; Jimenez, Ricardo
January 2018
JGIM: Journal of General Internal Medicine;Jan2018, Vol. 33 Issue 1, p72
Academic Journal
journal article
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 .


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