Texting: best way to remind patients to get Pap smear

TEXT messaging patients to remind them they are due for a Pap screening will save lives – that is the message from Cancer Council Victoria.

Speaking at the APNA Roadmap for the Future conference, Philippa Davis, General Practice Program Liaison Officer, told practice nurses they were vital to the fight against cervical cancer.

Only 61.2% of women are screened every two years, as recommended.

Yet, if all eligible women were screened, the mortality rate of cervical cancer would drop by 90%.

The Cancer Council Victoria developed a two-hour workshop about increasing screening rates that ran throughout Victoria during 2010 and was attended by 130 practice nurses.

Ms Davis said text messaging was the most effective way to bring women into the practice for screening.

“The message shouldn’t say what it is for, but asks them to ring the practice to arrange an appointment. It’s surprising how many