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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Text messaging May improve abnormal mammogram follow-up in Latinas


Purpose/Objectives: To develop and pilot test a text message notification process to reduce follow-up time for abnormal mammograms.


Design: Formative analysis; randomized trial with delayed intervention control group.


Setting: Federally qualified health center, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Clinic (TVHC).


Sample: Thirty-one Spanish-speaking Latinas with abnormal mammograms.


Methods: One Spanish text message was developed based on findings from two focus groups and five interviews with TVHC health care professionals. Fifteen women were assigned to receive text messages within 24 hours of receipt of abnormal mammogram by TVHC (intervention group), and 16 to receive text messages four weeks later (delayed intervention group).


Main Research Variables: Number of days between the abnormal mammogram and the return for follow-up appointment.


Findings: The median number of days between the abnormal mammogram report and the return for follow-up was 23 days for the intervention group and 59 days for the delayed intervention group (p = 0.0569).


Conclusions: Our study successfully developed a text message that, in Latinas, may decrease the time from receipt of an abnormal mammogram report to attendance at a follow-up visit.


Implications for Nursing: This simple low-cost approach could result in earlier detection of breast cancers, and thus lower morbidity and mortality among Latinas.


Knowledge Translation: Latina women had a high rate of cell phone ownership. Both focus group members and health professionals felt the text message should be short and refer the patient back to the clinic. A short text message added to usual care was associated with earlier return for follow-up appointment.


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