Missed appointments place a costly and disruptive strain on National Health Service resources in England. One major source of missed appointments appears to be insufficient communication between patients and providers. SMS text messaging shows promise as a simple, cost-effective means of bridging this communications gap. SMS provides an instant and asynchronous means of communication that protects patient privacy. The potential for this technology is balanced, however, by the lack of high-quality evidence to support its use. There is an urgent need for robust evaluation of critical quality, safety, cost implications, and acceptability before the large-scale rollout of SMS-based systems.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the last few years there has been a steady uptake of mobile phone short message service (SMS) reminders to increase medical attendance rates. We undertook a review of studies that assessed the effectiveness of SMS reminders at increasing the uptake of appointments in health care settings.
We reviewed studies which involved a comparison of appointment attendance rates between patients who did and did not receive SMS reminders published prior to June 2010. We used meta-analysis methods to calculate the overall effect on attendance rates, stratified by study design and clinic type.
The review criteria were met by 18 reports, made up of eight randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 10 controlled observational studies. Across all studies, there was significant heterogeneity in the estimated effect measure of the relationship between use of SMS reminders and clinic attendance (I(2) = 90 percent; p < .01), so a summary effect estimate was not calculated. Stratification by study design showed that the heterogeneity was due to the observational studies. The summary effect from the RCTs was 1.48 (95% CI: 1.23-1.72) with no significant subgroup differences by clinic type (primary care clinics, hospital outpatient clinics), message timing (24, 48, and 72+ hours before the scheduled appointment), and target age group (pediatric, older).
Short message service reminders in health care settings substantially increase the likelihood of attending clinic appointments. SMS reminders appear to be a simple and efficient option for health services to use to improve service delivery, as well as resulting in health benefits for the patients who receive the reminders.
Health Services Research 11/2011; 47(2):614-32. DOI:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01342.x · 2.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This issue of Informatics in Primary Care extends our knowledge base in a number of important areas; it includes an exploration of new technologies in a primary care setting and challenges us to consider whether we have sufficient research capability and capacity in our domain. Please feel free to agree, or not, with the authors and write in with your comments.
The Journal of Innovations in Health Informatics 02/2008; 16(3):171-3. DOI:10.14236/jhi.v16i3.689
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies suggest text messaging is beneficial to health care; however, no one has synthesized the overall evidence on texting interventions. In response to this need, we conducted a systematic review of the impacts of text messaging in health care.
PubMed database searches and subsequent reference list reviews sought English-language, peer-reviewed studies involving text messaging in health care. Commentaries, conference proceedings, and feasibilities studies were excluded. Data was extracted using an article coding sheet and input into a database for analysis.
Of the 61 papers reviewed, 50 articles (82%) found text messaging had a positive effect on the primary outcome. Average sample sizes in articles reporting positive findings (n=813) were significantly larger than those that did not find a positive impact (n=178) on outcomes (p = 0.032). Articles were categorized into focal groups as follows: 27 articles (44.3%) investigated the impact of texting on disease management, 24 articles (39.3%) focused texting's impact to public health related outcomes, and 10 articles (16.4%) examined texting and its influence on administrative processes. Articles in focal groups differed by the purpose of the study, direction of the communication, and where they were published, but not in likelihood of reporting a positive impact from texting.
Current evidence indicates that text messaging health care interventions are largely beneficial clinically, in public health related uses, and in terms of administrative processes. However, despite the promise of these findings, literature gaps exist, especially in primary care settings, across geographic regions and with vulnerable populations.
Advances in Health Care Management 01/2011; 11:235-61. DOI:10.1108/S1474-8231(2011)0000011013
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