Impact of content-specific email reminders on provider participation in an online intervention: a dental PBRN study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Smoking; Smoking Cessation; Patient Education as Topic; Health Education, Dental; Internet; Electronic Mail; Medical Informatics Applications; Reminder Systems


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


Engaging busy healthcare providers in online continuing education interventions is challenging. In an Internet-delivered intervention for dental providers, we tested a series of email-delivered reminders - cues to action. The intervention included case-based education and downloadable practice tools designed to encourage providers to increase delivery of smoking cessation advice to patients. We compared the impact of email reminders focused on 1) general project announcements, 2) intervention related content (smoking cessation), and 3) unrelated content (oral cancer prevention focused content). We found that email reminders dramatically increased participation. The content of the message had little impact on the participation, but day of the week was important - messages sent at the end of the week had less impact, likely due to absence from clinic on the weekend. Email contact, such as day of week an email is sent and notice of new content post-ing, is critical to longitudinal engagement. Further research is needed to understand which messages and how frequently, will maximize participation.

DOI of Published Version



Stud Health Technol Inform. 2010;160(Pt 2):801-5. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Studies in health technology and informatics

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed