Mailed outreach and facilitated test ordering to promote cholesterol screening in community health centers: A randomized trial

Stephen D. Persell*, Tiffany Brown, Ji Young Lee, Eric Henley, Timothy Long, Thomas Sanchez, Regina Knight

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Rationale, aims, and objectives: Lipid screening is central to cardiovascular risk assessment. We sought to determine whether a simple mailed outreach message and facilitated test ordering increase cholesterol screening among federally qualified community health center patients with no recent cholesterol screening test performed. Methods: Using a patient-randomized controlled trial, we examined the effects of delivering a simple mailed outreach intervention promoting cholesterol testing and facilitated test ordering (without requiring an office visit). Participants were adult patients 50 to 75 years old, with no diagnosed cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and no cholesterol test within 5 years who had received care from community health centers in Illinois and Arizona. The intervention took place in 2014 and was powered to detect a 10% increase in screening due to the intervention. Results: Participantsˈ (n = 480) mean age was 57.5 years, 51.0% were male, and 43.8% were smokers. There was no significant difference between groups in the primary study outcome—completion of total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol tests or complete lipid panel within 3 months; 32 participants (13.3%) in intervention group versus 26 (10.8%) in control group met the primary outcome, with absolute difference of 2.5 percentage points (95% confidence interval −6.6 to 11.6). Conclusions: This outreach intervention promoting cholesterol screening was ineffective. Interventions that attempt to minimize barriers to cholesterol screening on multiple fronts and that are more compelling to patients are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-624
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • cardiovascular disease prevention
  • cholesterol
  • federally qualified health centers
  • primary care
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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