Effectiveness of telephone reminders in improving rate of appointments kept at an outpatient clinic: A randomized controlled trial

Muhammad Jawad Hashim, Peter Franks, Kevin Fiscella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations


Background: Clinic appointments in which patients do not appear (no-show) result in loss of provider time and revenue. Previous studies have shown variable effectiveness in telephone and mailed reminders to patients. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial of telephone reminders 1 day before the scheduled appointments in an urban family practice residency clinic. Patients with appointments were randomized to be telephoned 1 day before the scheduled visit; 479 patients were telephoned and 424 patients were not telephoned. Results: The proportions of patients not showing up for their appointments were 19% in the telephoned and 26% in the not-telephoned groups (P = .0065). Significantly more cancelations were made when telephoning patients before their visit, 17% compared with 9.9%. The opened scheduling slots were used for appointments for other patients. This additional revenue offset the cost of telephone intervention in our cost analysis. Conclusion: Reminding patients by telephone calls 1 day before their appointments yields increased cancelations that can be used to schedule other patients. Telephone reminders provide substantial net revenue, but the results may be population specific. (J Am Board Fam Pract 2001;14:193-6.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-196
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2001
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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