At DiaryBook we encourage any research in reducing missed appointments and increasing efficiency in this area. Recently, the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare published a review on exactly this subject. The review, which used 29 studies carried out since the year 2000, showed that automated reminders could reduce missed appointments by up to 29%.
Interestingly, authors Per Hasvold and Richard Wootton, of the university hospital of North Norway, say that it did not seem to matter whether the reminders went out a day before or a week before the appointment. The review also included the manual method of phoning the patients and this is probably why the average cost of appointment reminders was estimated at 36p (.41 EUR). A purely automated SMS system would be much less.
The authors conclude that “..the implication of the review is that all hospitals should consider using automated reminders to reduce non-attendance at appointments.”
The review can be read here.