Communication Practices of Mammography Facilities and Timely Follow-up of a Screening Mammogram with a BI-RADS 0 Assessment

Published:February 09, 2018DOI:

      Rationale and Objectives

      The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of communication practices with timely follow-up of screening mammograms read as Breast Imaging Reporting and Data Systems (BI-RADS) 0 in the Population-based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens (PROSPR) consortium.

      Materials and Methods

      A radiology facility survey was conducted in 2015 with responses linked to screening mammograms obtained in 2011–2014. We considered timely follow-up to be within 15 days of the screening mammogram. Generalized estimating equation models were used to evaluate the association between modes of communication with patients and providers and timely follow-up, adjusting for PROSPR site, patient age, and race and ethnicity.


      The analysis included 34,680 mammography examinations with a BI-RADS 0 assessment among 28 facilities. Across facilities, 85.6% of examinations had a follow-up within 15 days. Patients in a facility where routine practice was to contact the patient by phone if follow-up imaging was recommended were more likely to have timely follow-up (odds ratio [OR] 4.63, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.76–7.76), whereas standard use of mail was associated with reduced timely follow-up (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.30–0.75). Facilities that had standard use of electronic medical records to report the need for follow-up imaging to a provider had less timely follow-up (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.35–0.90). Facilities that routinely contacted patients by mail if they missed a follow-up imaging visit were more likely to have timely follow-up (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.02–2.69).


      Our findings support the value of telephone communication to patients in relation to timely follow-up. Future research is needed to evaluate the role of communication in completing the breast cancer screening episode.

      Key Words

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