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Personalized follow-up increases return rate at urban eye disease screening clinics for African Americans with diabetes: results of a randomized trial

, : Personalized follow-up increases return rate at urban eye disease screening clinics for African Americans with diabetes: results of a randomized trial. Ethnicity & Disease 13(1): 40-46

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of using personalized followup, as compared to reminder letters, in increasing return rates at urban eye disease screening clinics for African Americans with diabetes, and to identify factors predictive of the patient's likelihood of returning for annual follow-up exams. Research Design and Methods: All patients attending free community-based retinopathy screening clinics who were advised to return in one year for another diabetes eye evaluation (DEE) were randomized to standard or personalized follow-up interventions. Patients in the standard follow-up group received reminder letters a month before it was time to return for their next annual DEE. Patients in the intensive personalized intervention also received the letters, but those patients who did not call for an appointment within 10 days received a phone call from project staff, encouraging them to return for a DEE. Results: One hundred thirty-two African Americans with diabetes were randomized to one of the 2 treatments. The return rate for the intensive, personalized follow-up group was 66%, significantly (P=.001) higher than the 35% return rate for the standard follow-up group. Conclusion: This study demonstrated the efficacy of personal contact by telephone in improving return rates for annual DEEs in this population of patients. This finding is consistent with one of the key design principles of the project, which was to establish credible personal relationships with community leaders and patients as a means to maximize the utilization of the eye screening clinics.


PMID: 12723011

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