569 Computer-generated reminders on paper benefit quality of care

April 18, 2018

written by Brian McAvoy

Clinical question

Compared with usual care, how effective are computer-generated reminders delivered on paper to healthcare professionals on quality of care and patient outcomes?

Bottom line

There was moderate evidence that computer-generated reminders delivered on paper to healthcare professionals slightly improved quality of care in terms of compliance with preventive and disease management guidelines (6.8% increase). It was uncertain whether reminders improved patient outcomes.

Providing space on the reminder for a response from the clinician, providing an explanation of the reminder’s content or advice and providing a reference to an influential source, were associated with larger effect sizes.

The heterogeneity of the reminder interventions also suggested reminders can be implemented in various settings for various health conditions.


All but two studies took place in outpatient care. None of the studies reported outcomes related to harms or adverse effects.


Clinical practice does not always reflect best practice and evidence, partly because of unconscious acts of omission, information overload or inaccessible information. Reminders may help clinicians overcome these problems by prompting them to recall information they already know or would be expected to know, and by providing information or guidance in a more accessible and relevant format, at a particularly appropriate time.

Cochrane Systematic Review

Arditi C et al. Computer-generated reminders delivered on paper to healthcare professionals: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes. Cochrane Reviews, 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD001175.DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD001175.pub4. This review contains 35 studies involving 137,973 participants.

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.