Missed hospital appointments are a costly drain on NHS resources and text reminders are a successful tactic to combat patient Did Not Attend rates. (DNA’s)
The most common reason for a patient no show is simply forgetfulness, so text is an effective prompt to remind and confirm patient intentions. By providing a rebook option (as in respond with REBOOK) reutilisation opportunities and income gains also increase.
But can the actual SMS message content reduce DNA’s further? If patients realised how much their appointment cost, would it influence attendance?
A recent study published in September 2015, revealed a dramatic difference in no shows when this was put to the test!
In Trial 1, a message including the cost of a missed appointment produced a DNA rate of 8.4%, compared to 11.1% for the existing message with no mention of cost! A second randomised trial returned similar results.
Several of our Trusts recently changed their SMS templates to include costs and we’re measuring the DNA rates over the few months by using a different message – we’ll keep you posted on results.