Use of telephone and SMS reminders to improve attendance at hospital appointments: A systematic review

Hasvold, Per E. and Wootton, Richard (2011) Use of telephone and SMS reminders to improve attendance at hospital appointments: A systematic review. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 17 7: 358-364. doi:10.1258/jtt.2011.110707


Author Hasvold, Per E.
Wootton, Richard
Title Use of telephone and SMS reminders to improve attendance at hospital appointments: A systematic review
Journal name Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1357-633X
1758-1109
Publication date 2011-01-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1258/jtt.2011.110707
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 17
Issue 7
Start page 358
End page 364
Total pages 7
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage
Language eng
Subject 2718 Health Informatics
Abstract Patients failing to attend hospital appointments contribute to inefficient use of resources. We conducted a systematic review of studies providing a reminder to patients by phone, short message service (SMS) or automated phone calls. A PubMed search was conducted to identify articles published after 1999, describing studies of non-attendance at hospital appointments. In addition, we searched the references in the included papers. In total, 29 studies were included in the review. Four had two intervention arms which were treated as independent studies, giving a total of 33 estimates. The papers were analysed by two observers independently. A study quality score was developed and used to weight the data. Weighted means of the absolute and the relative changes in non-attendancewere calculated. All studies except one reported a benefit from sending reminders to patients prior to their appointment. The synthesis suggests that theweighted mean relative change in non-attendance was 34% of the baseline non-attendance rate. Automated reminders were less effective than manual phone calls (29% vs 39% of baseline value). There appeared to be no difference in non-attendance rate, whether the reminder was sent the day before the appointment or the week before. Cost and savings were not measured formally in any of the papers, but almost half of themincluded cost estimates. The average cost of using either SMS, automated phone calls or phone calls was €0.41 per reminder. Although formal evidence of cost-effectiveness is lacking, the implication of the review is that all hospitals should consider using automated reminders to reduce non-attendance at appointments.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
 
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