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Computer-Assisted Program Cuts Repeat Teen Pregnancies

Study finds program cost-effective; urges research to determine subgroups that can benefit

WEDNESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Computer-assisted counseling of pregnant teenage girls for the purpose of preventing repeat pregnancies can be an effective and cost-effective strategy, according to a study in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Beth Barnet, M.D., of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues randomized 235 pregnant teenagers, aged 18 or younger, to receive either usual care or one of two computer-assisted motivational interventions (CAMIs) in which outreach workers used customized software and information on the teenager's reproductive health risks, behaviors, and other factors to assess her risk of pregnancy. The intervention group received either quarterly CAMI plus additional home visits or quarterly CAMI only.

Compared with usual care, the researchers found that CAMI significantly reduced repeated births (adjusted odds ratio, 0.47), and the mean intervention costs per teenager were $2,064. The adjusted incremental cost-effectiveness ratios per prevented repeated birth were $17,388 overall and $13,687 among a high-risk subgroup (newly insured with Medicaid).

"The CAMI costs and cost-effectiveness compare favorably with other effective programs aimed at preventing repeated teenage births. Replication of these results in broader samples of adolescents would provide policy guidance for what works, for whom, and at what cost," the authors write.

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