Publication Abstract

Authors: Bowles EJ, Gao H, Brandzel S, Bradford SC, Buist DS

Title: Comparative effectiveness of two outreach strategies for cervical cancer screening.

Journal: Prev Med 86:19-27

Date: 2016 May

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Test-specific reminder letters can improve cancer screening adherence. Little is known about the effectiveness of a reminder system that targets the whole person by including multiple screening recommendations per letter. METHODS: We compared the effectiveness of a Pap-specific reminder letter sent 27months after a woman's last Pap, to a reminder letter that included up to seven preventive service recommendations sent before a woman's birthday ("birthday letter") on Pap smear adherence from a natural experiment occurring in routine clinical care. Participants included 82,016 women from Washington State who received 72,615 Pap-specific letters between 2003 and 2007 and 100,218 birthday letters between 2009 and 2012. We defined adherence as having a Pap test within a six month window around the Pap test due date. Using logistic regression, we calculated adjusted odds ratios (OR) for adherence with 95% confidence intervals (CI) following the birthday letter with 1-2 recommendations, 3-5 recommendations, and 6-7 recommendations compared to the Pap-specific letter. All analyses were stratified by whether a woman was up-to-date or overdue for screening at the time she received a letter. RESULTS: Adjusted ORs showed reduced adherence following the birthday letter compared with the Pap-specific letter for up-to-date women whether the letter had 1-2 recommendations (OR=0.37, 95%CI=0.36-0.39), 3-5 recommendations (OR=0.44, 95%CI=0.42-0.45), or 6-7 recommendations (OR=0.36, 95%CI=0.32-0.40). We noted no difference in Pap-test adherence between letter types for overdue women. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, for women regularly adherent to screening, an annual birthday letter containing reminders for multiple preventive services was less effective at promoting cervical cancer screening compared with a Pap-specific letter.