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Timely reminders help women get exams

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 22, 2010
Phone calls and reminder letters help boost mammography rates among minority and poor women, according to a study published online this week in Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The study, conducted at Boston Medical Center, found that so-called patient navigation services could help boost biennial mammography screening rates.

The study involved 3,895 BMC patients aged 51-70. Calls and letters asking about difficulties in getting scanned and offering help in scheduling the exams boosted mammography adherence rates to 87 percent, according to the study, while women not getting the reminders saw no change in their screening rate, of about 76 percent.

The service boosted mammography rates for women of all racial, language, education and insurance groups, the study said.

"Primary care-based patient navigation is a valuable intervention to help reduce health care disparities, especially in vulnerable patient populations served by safety net hospitals like BMC," lead author Dr. Christine Phillips, a doctor with BMC, said in a statement.