Cervical cancer screening: A prospective cohort study of the effects of historical patient compliance and a population-based informatics prompted reminder on screening rates

Kathy L. MacLaughlin, Kristi M. Swanson, James M. Naessens, Kurt B. Angstman, Rajeev Chaudhry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Aims and objectives The aim of this study was to assess the impact of historical screening compliance with the effectiveness of patient reminder letters on cervical cancer screening rates. Method Using population-based informatics systems, women with no cervical cancer screening in the prior 3 years were identified in two primary care clinics, Mayo Family Clinic Northeast (NE; n = 1613) and Northwest (NW; n = 1088). Patients were divided into two compliance groups: overdue/unknown screening status at study start or previously compliant. The NE Clinic sent reminder letters over a 6 months window to patients eligible for screening at the study start or during the study that were also identified as employees/dependents (E/D). There were 795 intervention (NE Clinic E/D patients) and 1906 control subjects. Using an intent-to-treat analysis, differences in screening rates were assessed. Results A higher unadjusted screening rate was observed for the E/D group than the non-E/D group at both sites (32.7 versus 18.2% at NW, P < 0.001; 39.0 versus 14.7% at NE, P < 0.001). For the historically compliant group, unadjusted screening rates were higher for those who received letters (E/D subjects at NE) versus those who did not (E/D subjects at NW; 56.1 versus 44.5%, P = 0.01). No difference was observed between E/D subjects at NE (received letters) and NW (no letters) for the overdue/unknown group (27.4 versus 25.9%, P = 0.62). There was no difference in screening rates for non-E/D subjects at NE versus at NW (none of whom received letters) for both the compliant (24.2 versus 30.6%, P = 0.18) and the overdue/unknown groups (11.9 versus 13.0%, P = 0.59). Multivariate logistic regression models showed a significant overall effect of E/D status (P = 0.006), compliance group (P < 0.001), and the interaction between clinic site and E/D status (P = 0.04). Conclusion Among insured women, reminder letters appear to improve cervical cancer screening rates for those with a history of screening compliance. Reminder letters appear insufficient to motivate women if screening is overdue. Further investigation of the cohort of women overdue for screening is needed to develop interventions to successfully target this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014



  • cervical cancer screening
  • compliance
  • patient reminders
  • population-based informatics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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