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Family Planning Reminder Systems: An Updated Systematic Review
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  • Alternative Title:
    Am J Prev Med
  • Description:

    The objective of this systematic review was to update a prior review and summarize the evidence on the impact of family planning reminder systems (e.g., daily text messages reminding oral contraception users to take a pill).

    Evidence acquisition:

    Multiple databases, including PubMed, were searched during 2016–2017 for articles published from March 1, 2011, to November 30, 2016, describing studies of reminder systems.

    Evidence synthesis:

    The search strategy identified 24,953 articles, of which two studies met the inclusion criteria. In total with the initial review, four studies (including two RCTs) examined reminder systems among oral contraception users, with two of three that examined correct use finding a statistically significant positive impact, and one RCT finding a positive impact on knowledge and continuation. Of three studies (including two RCTs) that examined reminder systems among depot medroxyprogesterone acetate users, one of three that examined correct use found a statistically significant positive impact on timely injections at 3 months, and one study found no effect on continued use at 12 months.


    Although this review found mixed support for the effectiveness of reminder systems on family planning behaviors, the highest quality evidence yielded null findings related to correct use of oral contraception and timely depot medroxyprogesterone acetate injections beyond 3 months, and found positive findings related to oral contraception continuation and knowledge. Future studies would be strengthened by objectively measuring outcomes and examining additional contraceptive methods and outcomes at least 12 months post-intervention.

    Theme information:

    This article is part of a theme issue entitled Updating the Systematic Reviews Used to Develop the U.S. Recommendations for Providing Quality Family Planning Services, which is sponsored by the Office of Population Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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