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Mobile telephone short message service reminders can reduce nonattendance in physical therapy outpatient clinics: A randomized controlled trial

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 04:39 authored by Taylor, NF, Bottrell, J, Katherine LawlerKatherine Lawler, Benjamin, D

Objective: To investigate whether short message service (SMS) reminders reduce nonattendance in physical therapy outpatient clinics.

Design: Prospective single-blinded randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Two physical therapy outpatient departments in metropolitan acute public hospitals.

Participants: Participants with an appointment in a physical therapy outpatient clinic and who provided a contact mobile telephone number were included. Participants were excluded if their appointment was scheduled for the same day on which they made the appointment.

Intervention: Participants allocated to the intervention group received an SMS reminder before their next appointment; participants allocated to the control group did not receive a reminder.

Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was rate of nonattendance without cancellation. Secondary outcomes were cancellation and attendance rates and exploration of other factors associated with nonattendance.

Results: Patients (N = 679) were allocated to receive either an SMS reminder (N = 342) or no reminder (N = 337). The nonattendance rate for patients who did not receive a reminder (16%) was more than nonattendance for patients receiving the SMS reminder (11%; odds ratio, 1.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-2.51; number needed to treat, 19; 95% CI, 9-275). There were no differences in cancellation or attendance rates between groups. Exploration of other factors found that patients who were younger with a neck and trunk musculoskeletal or a neuromuscular disorder and who were scheduled to have an initial appointment or an appointment on a Monday or Friday were significantly predictive of increased nonattendance.

Conclusions: SMS reminders can reduce nonattendance in physical therapy outpatient clinics.


Publication title

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation








Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


W B Saunders Co

Place of publication

Independence Square West Curtis Center, Ste 300, Philadelphia, USA, Pa, 19106-3399

Rights statement

© 2012 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)

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