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Review: recall or reminder systems improve the rate of childhood and adult immunisation

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QUESTION: Can postal or telephone systems designed to remind patients that they are due or overdue for immunisation improve the rate of completed immunisation?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, and CAB Health Abstracts from their inception through 1998. Bibliographies of studies and review articles and conference proceedings were scanned and personal files were searched.

Study selection

English language randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled before after studies, and interrupted times series studies were included if a patient recall system was evaluated and reported as primary research, the studies used common national or international childhood or adult approved vaccinations, and rates of completed immunisations were given.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on study quality, patient characteristics (age, practice setting, date of study, and type …

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  • Sources of funding: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine.

  • For correspondence: Dr P G Szilagyi, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Box 632, Strong Memorial Hospital, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. Fax +1 716 273 1080.