, Volume 178, Issue 1, pp 121-122
Date: 11 Feb 2009

Clinic appointment reminders among rheumatology patients

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Dear Editor,

We read with interest the publication by Hogan AM et al. [1], which looked at the potential impact of text message reminders on non-attendance at surgical outpatient (OPD) clinics in Ireland and reported that such a service would encourage 51% to attend or cancel their missed OPD appointment. As the authors pointed out, little work has been carried out in this area in Ireland. Recently, we also examined the topic, focusing on Rheumatology patients attending our outpatient services, who had a “did not attend” (DNA) rate of almost 18% (525/2,924) in 2007 [2] compared to 16.8% in the Hogan AM et al. study.

Many patients DNA their OPD clinic appointments for one reason or another, for example a lapse in memory or forgetfulness has been estimated for up to 50% of DNA cases [3, 4]. The level of DNA can be extremely high in many departments. In the department of care for the elderly at Hammersmith Hospital, London, in 1996–1997, DNA rates were a staggering 21% [5]. This is at the