10 Cohen et al._2008_Time to use text reminders in genitourinary medicine clinics

10 Cohen et al._2008_Time to use text reminders in genitourinary medicine clinics

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ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE Time to use text reminders in genitourinary medicine clinics C E Cohen MRCP , K M Coyne MRCP , S Mandalia MSc , A-M Waters and A K Sullivan FRCP HIV / Summary: Faced with a national 48-hour waiting time target and high non-attendance rates for booked appointments, our sexual health service sought patient preferences for appointment reminders. Questionnaires were distributed to 350 consecutive genitourinary medicine clinic attendees. Eighty-eight percent of respondents approved of appointment reminders, with text messaging being the preferred option. Automated voicemail reminders to mobile phones were acceptable to 84%. Patients would generally choose a voicemail reminder to their mobile phone as opposed to home or work phone, and this preference was more pronounced in younger patients ( P ¼ 0.03). The majority of patients considered reminders two or three days in advance suf±cient notice, with 98% owning a mobile phone. Text or voicemail reminders may signi±cantly reduce non-attendance rates and their associated costs, improve accessibility and reduce waiting times. Keywords: appointments and schedules, waiting lists, reminder systems, cellular phone, sexually transmitted diseases INTRODUCTION One of the greatest difFculties experienced by genitourinary (GU) medicine patients in the UK is access to services. In 2004, the government Choosing Health white paper 1 deFned a target that all sexual health clinics should offer patients an appointment within 48 hours. Clinics have been making strin- gent efforts to reach this goal. A series of national audits have shown steady improvement, and in May 2007 across England 83% of patients were offered an appointment within 48 hours, and 72% were seen within that time. 2
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10 Cohen et al._2008_Time to use text reminders in genitourinary medicine clinics

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