Achieving health equity in preventive services: A systematic review for a national institutes of health pathways to prevention workshop

Heidi D. Nelson, Amy Cantor, Jesse Wagner, Rebecca Jungbauer, Ana Quiñones, Lucy Stillman, Karli Kondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: Disadvantaged populations in the United States experience disparities in the use of preventive health services. Purpose: To examine effects of barriers that create health disparities in 10 recommended preventive services for adults, and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to reduce them. Data Sources: English-language searches of Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO, SocINDEX, and the Veterans Affairs Health Services database (1 January 1996 to 5 July 2019); reference lists. Study Selection: Trials, observational studies with comparison groups, and systematic reviews of populations adversely affected by disparities that reported effects of barriers on use of any of the 10 selected preventive services or that reported the effectiveness of interventions to reduce disparities in use of a preventive service by improving intermediate or clinical outcomes. Data Extraction: Dual extraction and assessment of study quality, strength of evidence, and evidence applicability. Data Synthesis: No studies reported effects of provider-specific barriers on preventive service use. Eighteen studies reporting effects of patient barriers, such as insurance coverage or lack of a regular provider, on preventive service use had mixed and inconclusive findings. Studies of patient–provider interventions (n = 12), health information technologies (n = 11), and health system interventions (n = 88) indicated higher cancer screening rates with patient navigation; telephone calls, prompts, and other outreach methods; reminders involving lay health workers; patient education; risk assessment, counseling, and decision aids; screening checklists; community engagement; and provider training. Single studies showed that clinician-delivered and technology-assisted interventions improved rates of smoking cessation and weight loss, respectively. Limitation: Insufficient or low strength of evidence and applicability for most interventions except patient navigation, telephone calls and prompts, and reminders involving lay health workers. Conclusion: In populations adversely affected by disparities, patient navigation, telephone calls and prompts, and reminders involving lay health workers increase cancer screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-271
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 18 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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