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

Marilyn M. Schapira, William E. Barlow, Emily F. Conant, Brian L. Sprague, Anna N.A. Tosteson, Jennifer S. Haas, Tracy Onega, Elisabeth F. Beaber, Martha Goodrich, Anne Marie McCarthy, Sally D. Herschorn, Celette Sugg Skinner, Tory O. Harrington, Berta Geller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1127
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Screening mammography
  • communication
  • timely follow-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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