Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 34–38 | Cite as

Comparison of an SMS text messaging and phone reminder to improve attendance at a health promotion center: A randomized controlled trial

  • Zhou-wen Chen
  • Li-zheng Fang
  • Li-ying Chen
  • Hong-lei Dai
Article

Abstract

Objective

To compare the efficacy of a short messaging service (SMS) text messaging and phone reminder to improve attendance rates at a health promotion center.

Methods

A total of 1 859 participants who had scheduled appointments in the health promotion center of our hospital from April 2007 to May 2007 were enrolled in the study and randomly assigned into 3 groups: control (no reminder) group, SMS text messaging reminder group and telephone reminder group. Attendance rates and costs of interventions were collected.

Results

A total of 1848 participants were eligible for analysis. Attendance rates of control, SMS and telephone groups were 80.5%, 87.5% and 88.3%, respectively. The attendance rates were significantly higher in SMS and telephone groups than that in the control group, with odds ratio 1.698, 95% confidence interval 1.224 to 2.316, P=0.001 in the SMS group, and odds ratio 1.829, 95% confidence interval 1.333 to 2.509, P<0.001 in the telephone group. However, there was no difference between the SMS group and the telephone group (P=0.670). The cost effectiveness analysis showed that the cost per attendance for the SMS group (0.31 Yuan) was significantly lower than that for the telephone group (0.48 Yuan).

Conclusion

SMS and telephone are effective reminders for improving attendance rate at a health promotion center. SMS reminder may be more cost-effective compared with the telephone reminder.

Key words

Reminder Short messaging service (SMS) Telephone Failure to attend (FTA) Randomized controlled trial (RCT) 

CLC number

R19 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Battistotti, A., Quaglini, S., Cuoco, E., 2006. Reducing dropouts in outpatient care through an SMS-based system. Stud. Health Technol. Inf., 124:935–940.Google Scholar
  2. Can, S., Macfarlane, T., O’Brien, K.D., 2003. The use of postal reminders to reduce non-attendance at an orthodontic clinic: a randomised controlled trial. Br. Dent. J., 195(4): 199–201 (Discussion in p. 196). [doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.4810443]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Downer, S.R., Meara, J.G., Da Costa, A.C., Sethuraman, K., 2006. SMS text messaging improves outpatient attendance. Aust. Health Rev., 30(3):389–396.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Geraghty, M., Glynn, F., Amin, M., Kinsella, J., 2007. Patient mobile telephone ‘text’ reminder: a novel way to reduce non-attendance at the ENT out-patient clinic. J. Laryngol. Otol., 1:1–3.Google Scholar
  5. Haynes, J.M., Sweeney, E.L., 2006. The effect of telephone appointment-reminder calls on outpatient absenteeism in a pulmonary function laboratory. Respir. Care, 51(1):36–39.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Irigoyen, M.M., Findley, S., Earle, B., Stambaugh, K., Vaughan, R., 2000. Impact of appointment reminders on vaccination coverage at an urban clinic. Pediatrics, 106(4 Suppl.):919–923.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Jibaja-Weiss, M.L., Volk, R.J., Smith, Q.W., Holcomb, J.D., Kingery, P., 2005. Differential effects of messages for breast and cervical cancer screening. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 16(1):42–52. [doi:10.1353/hpu.2005.0018]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lee, C.S., McCormick, P.A., 2003. Telephone reminders to reduce non-attendance rate for endoscopy. J. R. Soc. Med., 96(11):547–548. [doi:10.1258/jrsm.96.11.547]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Leong, K.C., Chen, W.S., Leong, K.W., Mastura, I., Mimi, O., Sheikh, M.A., Zailinawati, A.H., Ng, C.J., Phua, K.L., Teng, C.L., 2006. The use of text messaging to improve attendance in primary care: a randomized controlled trial. Fam. Pract., 23(6):699–705. [doi:10.1093/fampra/cml044] Martin, C., Perfect, T., Mantle, G., 2005. Non-attendance in primary care: the views of patients and practices on its causes, impact and solutions. Fam. Pract., 22(6):638–643. [doi:10.1093/fampra/cmi076]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Maxwell, S., Maljanian, R., Horowitz, S., Pianka, M.A., Cabrera, Y., Greene, J., 2001. Effectiveness of reminder systems on appointment adherence rates. J. Health Care Poor Underserved, 12(4):504–514.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. May, H., Hearn, G., 2005. The mobile phone as media. Int. J. Cult. Stud., 8(2):195–211. [doi:10.1177/1367877905052417]CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mayer, J.A., Lewis, E.C., Slymen, D.J., Dullum, J., Kurata, H., Holbrook, A., Elder, J.P., Williams, S.J., 2000. Patient reminder letters to promote annual mammograms: a randomized controlled trial. Prev. Med., 31(4):315–322. [doi:10.1006/pmed.2000.0718]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Milne, R.G., Horne, M., Torsney, B., 2006. SMS reminders in the UK national health service: an evaluation of its impact on “no-shows” at hospital out-patient clinics. Health Care Manage Rev., 31(2):130–136.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Murdock, A., Rodgers, C., Lindsay, H., Tham, T.C., 2002. Why do patients not keep their appointments? Prospective study in a gastroenterology outpatient clinic. J. R. Soc. Med., 95(6):284–286. [doi:10.1258/jrsm.95.6.284]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Neal, R.D., Hussain-Gambles, M., Allgar, V.L., Lawlor, D.A., Dempsey, O., 2005. Reasons for and consequences of missed appointments in general practice in the UK: questionnaire survey and prospective review of medical records. BMC Fam. Pract., 6(1):47. [doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-47]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Reti, S., 2003. Improving outpatient department efficiency: a randomized controlled trial comparing hospital and general-practice telephone reminders. N. Z. Med. J., 116(1175):U458.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Roberts, N., Meade, K., Partridge, M., 2007. The effect of telephone reminders on attendance in respiratory outpatient clinics. J. Health Serv. Res. Policy, 12(2):69–72. [doi:10.1258/135581907780279567]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shoffner, J., Staudt, M., Marcus, S., Kapp, S., 2007. Using telephone reminders to increase attendance at psychiatric appointments: findings of a pilot study in rural Appalachia. Psychiatr. Serv., 58(6):872–875. [doi:10.1176/appi.ps.58.6.872]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Thomas, D., 2004. Postal reminders can improve attendance at orthodontic clinics. Evid. Based Dent., 5(1):14. [doi:10.1038/sj.ebd.6400244]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Virtanen, V., Sirkiä, T., Jokiranta, V., 2007. Reducing nonresponse by SMS reminders in mail surveys. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev., 25(3):384–395. [doi:10.1177/0894439307299588]CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Zailinawati, A.H., Ng, C.J., Nik-Sherina, H., 2006. Why do patients with chronic illnesses fail to keep their appointments? A telephone interview. Asia Pac. J. Public Health, 18(1):10–15. [doi:10.1177/10105395060180010301]PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhou-wen Chen
    • 1
  • Li-zheng Fang
    • 1
  • Li-ying Chen
    • 1
  • Hong-lei Dai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of General Practice, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, School of MedicineZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations