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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 60 (2018) 7, 449 - 453


Text message reminders in the hospital-psychiatry outpatient setting – a quasi-experimental study on cost aspects

B. Klingenberg, R. Konings, M. Duijzings, L. Visser, J. Strik, C. Leue

background During their specialty training program residents are stimulated to think and work in a goal-oriented way. Patient ‘no shows’ are quite common in the mental healthcare system, consequently causing the ineffective use of healthcare services.
aim To reduce the amount of ‘no shows’ in an outpatient clinic for hospital psychiatry by sending reminders via text messaging.
method A quasi-experimental study was conducted at an outpatient clinic for hospital-psychiatry in 2016, in which 101 patients were included. Eventually, 50 patients received a text message to remind them of their appointment, while 46 did not. We used a χ2 test to evaluate group differences. The effect size was expressed in the ‘number needed to cash’ (nnc), similar to the number needed to treat (nnt). Routinely available hospital-data was used to estimate lost revenue per year.
results A significant group difference was found in the number of outpatient clinic visits in favour of sending a text message reminder (74% vs. 92%, p = 0.018). This corresponded to a nnc of 5.53, i.e. 6 text messages need to be sent in order to accomplish one extra patient showing up for their intake. Based on hospital-data from 2016 the estimated lost revenue was € 53.017,38 / year at our outpatient clinic.
conclusion Sending reminders via text messaging is effective in reducing the number of ‘no shows’ at an outpatient clinic for hospital psychiatry.

keywords efficiency, hospital-psychiatry, text messaging