The impact of short message service text messages sent as appointment reminders to patients' cell phones at outpatient clinics in São Paulo, Brazil

  • da Costa T
  • Salomão P
  • Martha A
 et al. 
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Abstract

Objective: Nonattendance for appointments remains a challenge to health care managers and providers. The objective of this article is to present the results of a study on the impact of appointment reminders sent as short message service text messages to patients' cell phones on nonattendance rates at outpatient clinics in São Paulo, Brazil. Design: Data were collected on scheduled appointments in four medical clinics using Clinic Manager®or Clinic Web®systems that can send automated messages to patients. Data on appointment attendance were collected from these systems. Measurements: More than 29,000 appointments were scheduled between July 1, 2007, and May 31, 2008, and for 7890 of them a text message reminder was sent to the patient's cell phone. The rates of nonattendance were compared between those who were sent and those who were not sent a text message as an appointment reminder. Results: The nonattendance reduction rates for appointments at the four outpatient clinics studied were 0.82% (p = .590), 3.55% (p = .009), 5.75% (p = .022), and 14.49% (p =

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cell phones
  • Nonattendance
  • SMS
  • Text messages

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Authors

  • Thiago Martini da Costa

  • P. L. Salomão

  • Amilton Souza Martha

  • Ivan Torres Pisa

  • Daniel Sigulem

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