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Strengthening the evidence base for maternal and child health programs

New: MCH Best strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
MCH Best. NPM 1: Well-Woman Visit

MCH Best Logo well-woman visit

Strategy. Patient Reminders

Approach. Support providers in disseminating reminders (e.g., postcard, text, email, phone) to women about scheduling an annual preventive visit.

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Overview. Consistent evidence shows that all types of reminder systems are effective at improving appointment attendance across a range of health care settings and patient populations. Reminder systems may also increase cancellation and rescheduling of unwanted appointments.”1

Evidence. Scientifically Rigorous. Evidence suggest that patient reminders/invitations are effective, both on their own and in combination with other strategies. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. Patient/Consumer.

Outcome. Percent of women with a past year preventive visit. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the "Intervention Results" for each study.

Examples from the Field. There are currently 1 ESMs across all states/jurisdictions that use this strategy directly or intervention components that align with this strategy. Access descriptions of these ESMs through the MCH Digital Library. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Support providers in disseminating reminders (e.g., postcard, text, email, phone) to women about scheduling an annual preventive visit,” here are sample ESMs you can use as a model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies):

Quadrant 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of women enrolled in home visiting that receive a reminder regarding an annual preventive visits.

Quadrant 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percent of women enrolled in home visiting that receive a reminder regarding an annual preventive visits.

Quadrant 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of women enrolled in home visiting that receive a reminder regarding an annual preventive visits who subsequently schedule an annual visit.

Quadrant 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percent of women enrolled in home visiting that receive a reminder regarding annual preventive visits who subsequently schedule an annual visit.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


Reference:

1 Appointment reminder systems are effective but not optimal: results of a systematic review and evidence synthesis employing realist principles. Sionnadh Mairi McLean, Andrew Booth, Melanie Gee, Sarah Salway, Mark Cobb, Sadiq Bhanbhro, Susan A Nancarrow. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2016; 10: 479–499. Published online 2016 Apr 4. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S93046 PMCID: PMC4831598.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.