SAN DIEGO (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS)Text message reminders sent to parents on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series completion were more effective than were phone call reminders, in a study of three urban practices.

“Practices should offer patients preferences for how to be reached for reminders, and consider using text messaging if they are not already doing so,” Dr. Cynthia M. Rand said in an interview prior to a poster session at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies.

In what she said is the first study of its kind, Dr. Rand of the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center, and her associates, set out to examine the effect of phone or text message reminders to parents regarding HPV vaccine series completion for inner-city adolescents aged 11-17 years in Rochester, N.Y.

The adolescents had already started the HPV vaccine series at one of three area primary care clinics. The parents chose which method they preferred (phone call or text message), and were randomized to receive or not receive a reminder. As many as three reminders for each dose due were sent to the phone and text intervention groups. The main outcome measure was time to receipt of three doses of HPV vaccine.

The researchers enrolled 178 adolescents and 180 age-matched controls in the phone intervention group, and 191 participants and 200 controls in the text intervention group. Their mean age was 14 years. Two-thirds of the adolescents (66%) were black, 66% were male, and 80% were publicly insured.

At the end of the study, 48% of those in the phone intervention group (vs. 40% of controls) had received three HPV vaccine doses, compared with 49% of adolescents in the text intervention group (vs. 31% of controls). In a multivariate survival analysis controlled for gender, age, type of practice, and insurance, there was no significant difference in time from enrollment to receipt of the third HPV vaccine dose for those receiving a phone reminder, compared with controls (hazard ratio 1.26; P =.16), but there was a significant difference in those receiving a text reminder, compared with controls (HR 2.28; P less than .0001).

“Practice differences occurred, with significantly higher rates of HPV vaccine completion for those receiving phone reminders in the pediatric and family medicine practices compared to the combined medicine-pediatrics practices,” the researchers wrote in their abstract. “Compared to males, females were 77% more likely to complete the HPV vaccine series in the text intervention arm of the study.”

The study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Rand reported having no relevant financial disclosures.

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