Effectiveness of post card appointment reminders

Fam Pract Res J. 1994 Sep;14(3):281-8.


Objective: This study measures the effectiveness of post card appointment reminders in a residency-based family practice center.

Methods: Outcomes of 1,380 consecutive appointments before institution of reminders were compared with 1,303 appointments afterward. Then, 140 patients were informally surveyed in follow-up.

Results: Before reminders, overall office no-show rate was 13.0%, cancellations were 19.4%, and arrivals were 67.6%. No-shows correlated with length of time from scheduling date to appointment date, seeing a resident rather than faculty, and patient payment classification (p < 0.0001). Post card reminders did not significantly improve arrivals by patients or change no-shows to cancellations. The reminders were well received by patients.

Conclusions: Post card appointment reminders were simple to institute and appreciated by patients but had little effect on improving appointment-keeping behavior.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Family Practice / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Postal Service
  • Reminder Systems / standards*