Potential impact of text message reminders on non-attendance at outpatient clinics
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- Hogan, A.M., Mc Cormack, O., Traynor, O. et al. Ir J Med Sci (2008) 177: 355. doi:10.1007/s11845-008-0187-2
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Non-attendance at outpatient clinic leads to significant time wasting and inefficient use of resources.
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.
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.
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.
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.