Osteoporosis International

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1519–1526 | Cite as

Comparison of interactive voice response, patient mailing, and mailed registry to encourage screening for osteoporosis: a randomized controlled trial

  • L. Heyworth
  • K. Kleinman
  • S. Oddleifson
  • L. Bernstein
  • J. Frampton
  • M. Lehrer
  • K. Salvato
  • T. W. Weiss
  • S. R. Simon
  • M. Connelly
Original Article



Guidelines recommend screening for osteoporosis with bone mineral density (BMD) testing in menopausal women, particularly those with additional risk factors for fracture. Many eligible women remain unscreened. This randomized study demonstrates that a single outreach interactive voice response phone call improves rates of BMD screening among high-risk women age 50–64.


Osteoporotic fractures are a major cause of disability and mortality. Guidelines recommend screening with BMD for menopausal women, particularly those with additional risk factors for fracture. However, many women remain unscreened. We examined whether telephonic interactive voice response (IVR) or patient mailing could increase rates of BMD testing in high risk, menopausal women.


We studied 4,685 women age 50–64 years within a not-for-profit health plan in the United States. All women had risk factors for developing osteoporosis and no prior BMD testing or treatment for osteoporosis. Patients were randomly allocated to usual care, usual care plus IVR, or usual care plus mailed educational materials. To avoid contamination, patients within a single primary care physician practice were randomized to receive the same intervention. The primary endpoint was BMD testing at 12 months. Secondary outcomes included BMD testing at 6 months and medication use at 12 months.


Mean age was 57 years. Baseline demographic and clinical characteristics were similar across the three study groups. In adjusted analyses, the incidence of BMD screening was 24.6 % in the IVR group compared with 18.6 % in the usual care group (P < 0.001). There was no difference between the patient mailing group and the usual care group (P = 0.3).


In this large community-based randomized trial of high risk, menopausal women age 50–64, IVR, but not patient mailing, improved rates of BMD screening. IVR remains a viable strategy to incorporate in population screening interventions.


Bone mineral density Interactive voice response Mailed registry Osteoporosis screening Patient mailing 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Heyworth
    • 1
    • 5
    • 7
  • K. Kleinman
    • 2
    • 6
  • S. Oddleifson
    • 3
  • L. Bernstein
    • 3
  • J. Frampton
    • 3
  • M. Lehrer
    • 3
  • K. Salvato
    • 3
  • T. W. Weiss
    • 4
  • S. R. Simon
    • 1
    • 5
  • M. Connelly
    • 2
  1. 1.Brigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Harvard Pilgrim Health Care InstituteWellesleyUSA
  4. 4.MerckWest PointUSA
  5. 5.Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  6. 6.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  7. 7.Section of General Internal MedicineVA Boston Healthcare SystemJamaica PlainUSA

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