Methods to reduce outpatient non-attendance

Am J Med Sci. 2012 Sep;344(3):211-9. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31824997c6.


Non-attendance reduces clinic and provider productivity and efficiency, compromises access and increases cost of health care. This systematic review of the English language literature (November 1999-November 2009) compares telephone, mail, text/short message service, electronic mail and open-access scheduling to determine which is best at reducing outpatient non-attendance and providing net financial benefit. Telephone, mail and text/short message service interventions all improved attendance modestly but at varying costs. Text messaging was the most cost-effective of the 3, but its applicability may be limited. Few data are available regarding electronic mail reminders, whereas open-access scheduling is an area of active research.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Reminder Systems* / economics