McDowell I et al. 1989 "Computerized reminders to encourage cervical screening in family-practice."

McDowell I, Newell C, Rosser W. Computerized reminders to encourage cervical screening in family-practice. J Fam Pract 1989;28(4):420-424.
"In a randomized trial three ways of increasing ways of cervical screening were compared for women attending a family medicine center. Working from computerized medical records, 1587 women aged 18 - 35 who were overdue for a screening test were included in the study. In a control group, no formal method was used to encourage patients to attend for screening, and 13.7% obtained a test within the trial year. In one intervention group the physician was issued a message identifying those women visiting the center for a routine appointment who were due for screening; 16.1 percent were screened. Sending a letter to patients in a second group yielded 25.9 percent compliance rate. In a third group, the practice nurse called patients on the telephone to advise them to obtain the test, and 20.0 percent complied. Reminders issued to the physician provide a low-cost opportunistic approach to reach women who happen to visit the practice, but this approach should be supplemented by telephoning or sending a letter to those women who do not attend regularly."
To compare "the effectiveness of three types of [computer-generated] reminders for cervical screening."
Type Clinic
Primary care
Type Specific
Family practice
Other Information
The study took place at the Family Medicine Centre of the Ottawa Civic Hospital with approximately 25 physicians.
Type of Health IT
Computerized clinical reminders (CRs) and alerts
Type of Health IT Functions
The computer printed a message to the physician to recommend cervical screening; repeat reminders were generated until a test was done.
Context or other IT in place
Electronic medical records (EMR)
Workflow-Related Findings
Patients whose physicians received the reminders were not more likely to be screened than patients in the control group.
Study Design
Randomized controlled trial (RCT)
Study Participants
Female patients aged 18 to 35 who were overdue for a cervical cancer screening test participated.