Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 177, Issue 4, pp 355–358

Potential impact of text message reminders on non-attendance at outpatient clinics

  • A. M. Hogan
  • O. Mc Cormack
  • O. Traynor
  • D. C. Winter
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11845-008-0187-2

Cite this article as:
Hogan, A.M., Mc Cormack, O., Traynor, O. et al. Ir J Med Sci (2008) 177: 355. doi:10.1007/s11845-008-0187-2

Abstract

Background

Non-attendance at outpatient clinic leads to significant time wasting and inefficient use of resources.

Aims

To establish the magnitude of the problem of clinic non-attendance and to ascertain the potential impact of a simple strategy to reduce inefficiency in Irish healthcare.

Methods

The number of patients due to attend general surgical clinic in a single year was ascertained. Telephone questionnaire of 97 patients who failed to attend was performed. A survey of potential impact of text message reminder was conducted.

Results

Appointments were sent to 18,362 patients. Of these, 31% (n = 5692) were new to clinic. The rate of non-attendance was 16.8% (n = 3085). Varied reasons were given for non-attendance. Text message reminder would encourage 51% of those surveyed to attend or cancel in advance.

Conclusion

The rate of non-attendance is 17%. A reminder would eradicate more than half of non-attendance, allowing significantly more new patients to be seen, translating to more efficient use of clinic time.

Keywords

Non-attendance at surgical clinic Reduction of waiting times Text message reminder 

Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Hogan
    • 1
  • O. Mc Cormack
    • 1
  • O. Traynor
    • 1
  • D. C. Winter
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Clinical Outcomes Research and Education (iCORE)St Vincents University HospitalDublin 4Ireland

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