A simple electronic reminder during an office visit may encourage more patients to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect against cervical cancer, researchers have found. Findings from the study are published in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine.

The HPV vaccine has the lowest completion rate compared to other vaccines. Currently, vaccination rates among adolescent women is around 30% and almost two-thirds of those who begin the 3-shot series never complete it.

In the study, researchers from the University of Michigan compared data for 6,019 patients whose clinics had prompts set up and 9,096 patients whose clinics did not have prompts. Patients aged 9–18 years were almost three times more likely to initiate the vaccine and 10 times more likely to complete it if their healthcare provider received prompts alerting them patients were due for a shot during any appointment. Further, patients aged 19–26 years were six times more likely to start the vaccine and eight times more likely to complete the series. These rates were significantly higher for young African American women.

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Overall, patients in clinics with prompts were significantly more likely to complete the vaccine series in a timely manner as compared to patients in clinics without prompts. Study authors also added that 80% of the population needs to start and finish the vaccine series in order to see a difference.

For more information visit uofmhealth.org.