Table 1

Studies included in meta-analyses

StudySubject area; study design; countryParticipantsIntervention and comparatorNotification characteristicsOutcome measuresPrevalence rates
Arora et al22 (2015)Primary care; randomised; the USAIn total, 328 patients from the Emergency Department at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center.Interventions: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
Three reminders: 7, 3 and 1 days before appointment.Attendance rateInt=73%
Control=62%
Bigna et al23 (2014)Preventative medicine; randomised; CameroonIn total, 242 adult–child (carer patient) pairs who were infected with or had been exposed to HIV attending clinics in urban, semiurban and rural settings.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 2 or 3 days before appointmentAttendance rateAttendance
Int=75%
Control=51%
Bos et al24 (2005)Dental care; randomised; the NetherlandsIn total, 143 patients attending the orthodontic department of the Academic Centre of Dentistry in Amsterdam.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 1 day before appointmentAttendance rate, non-attendance rate, cancellation/reschedule rateAttendance
Int=3%
Control=7%
No show’
Int=82%
Control=84%
Cancellations
Int=16%
Control=10%
Chen et al25 (2008)Health promotion; randomised; ChinaIn total, 1891 adults who had scheduled appointments within 72 hours to 2 months from recruitment.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 3 days before appointmentAttendance rateInt=88%
Control=81%
Cho et al26 (2010)Health promotion; randomised; South KoreaIn total, 918 adults attending family practices for lipid lowering.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
Note: a third group of participants received postal reminder (not included)
One reminder: 8 weeks before appointment (week 16 of 24).Attendance rateInt=76%
Control=72%
Clough and Casey27
(2014)
Mental health; Randomised; Australia140 consecutive adults seeking psychotherapeutic treatment at an outpatient psychology clinic at Brisbane University.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: No reminders
One reminder: 1 day before appointment (between 8:30 and 9:00)Attendance rate, Non-attendance rate, Cancellation/reschedule rateAttendance
Int=89%
Control=91% ‘No show’
Int=7%
Control=6%
Cancellations
Int=4%
Control=3%
Costa et al28 (2008)General health; randomised; PortugalIn total, 3362 patients of San Sebastião Hospital who had mobile phone number registered to the system.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 2 working days before appointmentNon-attendance rateInt=10%
Control=13%
Fairhust and Sheikh29 (2008)General health; randomised; UK (Scotland)In total, 415 appointments made by 173 patients who had failed to attend two or more appointments the year before.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: half a day before appointment (between 8:00 and 9:00, before afternoon appointments, or 14:00 to 15:00 the day before morning appointments).Non-attendance rateInt=12%
Control=17%
Koury and Faris30 (2005)ENT; Randomised; UKIn total, 291 patients who were scheduled for an otolaryngology outpatient clinic at a UK district general hospital.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
No further detailsNon-attendance rateInt=6%
Control=14%
Leong et al31 (2006)Primary care; randomised; MalaysiaIn total, 664 patients from seven primary care clinics whose follow-up appointments fell between 48 hours and 3 months from recruitment date.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 24–48 hours before appointmentAttendance rateInt=60%
Control=48%
Liew et al32 (2009)Chronic illnesses; randomised; MalaysiaIn total, 617 patients requiring chronic disease care from two primary care clinics in Kuala Lumpur.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: No reminders
Note: a third group of participants received telephone reminder (included in secondary analysis)
One reminder: 24–48 hours before appointmentNon-attendance rateInt=16%
Control=23%
Lin et al33
(2012)
Paediatric clinic/ophthalmology; randomised; ChinaIn total, 258 parent/child pairs were randomised. Children required treatment for cataracts.Intervention: SMS reminders to parents
Control: no reminders
Four reminders: Two each at 4 days and 1 day before appointment (at 10:00 and 4:00)
Each patient was sent reminders in advance of four separate appointments.
Attendance rateInt=91%
Control=62%
Narring et al34 (2013)Youth clinic; randomised; SwitzerlandIn total, 616 patients aged 12–24 years with primary care appointments at a multidisciplinary clinic. Plus 203 patients with gynaecological appointments and 165 patients with mental healthcare appointments at a multidisciplinary clinic.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 8:00–11:00 the day before appointmentNon-attendance rateInt=20%
Control=20%
Odeny et al35 (2012)Sexual health; randomised; KenyaIn total, 1188 men undergoing circumcision at any of 12 sites in Nyanza province.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
Seven reminders: daily for 7 days before appointmentNon-attendance rateInt=35%
Control=40%
Perron et al36 (2010)Sexual health; randomised; SwitzerlandIn total, 2123 patients scheduled to attend primary care clinic and ambulatory HIV clinic of the Geneva University Hospitals, between April and June 2008Intervention: a combination of phone, SMS and postal reminders
Control: no reminders
Sequential intervention, one phone call 48 hours before appointment. If phone was not answered after three attempts, either text message sent or postal message if they did not have a phone.Non-attendance rateInt=8%
Control=11%
Prasad and Anand37
(2012)
Dental care; randomised; the NetherlandsIn total, 206 patients who were scheduled to attend four selected departments from September 2010 to December 2010Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
Two reminders: 24 hours before, and on day of appointmentAttendance rateInt=79%
Control=36%
Reeve-Mates et al (under review)Mental health, randomised, UKIn total, 75 patients attending mental health services from January to July 2014.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
Two reminders: 7 days and 1 day before appointmentAttendance rate, non-attendance rate, cancellation/reschedule rateAttendance
Int=70%
Control=59%
No show’
Int=6%
Control=20%
Cancellations
Int=15%
Control=13%
Rutland et al38 (2012)Sexual health; randomised; UKIn total, 252 patients aged 16–30 years who booked an appointment during the 6 month study period. Only gave intervention to people who had missed appointments in the past.Intervention 1: SMS reminders
Intervention 2: SMS reminders plus health promotion
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 1 week after they had missed their initial appointment (for attendance within 4 weeks).Non-attendance rate(Pooled)
Int=12%
Control=5%
Taylor et al39 (2012)Physical therapy; randomised; AustraliaIn total, 696 participants who had an appointment in a physical therapy outpatient clinic at one of the two participating clinics.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 2 days before appointment (if made 3+ days prior), 1 day before appointment (if made 2 days prior).Non-attendance rateInt=11%
Control=16%
Wang et al40 (2014)Allergic rhinitis; randomised; ChinaIn total, 50 patients with a history of physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis who had an appointment scheduled from December 2011 to March 2012.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
A total of 30 reminders for medication: daily reminder for 30 days, at 7:00 on Monday to Friday and at 9:00. on Saturday and Sunday.Attendance rateInt=72%
Control=40%
Youssef, et al17 (2014)General health; randomised; Saudi ArabiaIn total, 2297 outpatients attending one of four clinics at the King Fahad teaching hospital from April to June 2011.Intervention: SMS reminders
Control: no reminders
One reminder: 48 hours before appointment.Non-attendance rate(Pooled)
Int=27%
Control=37%
Studies included in secondary meta-analysis
Fung et al41 (2009)Blood donor; randomised; the USAIn total, 31 repeat blood donors who made donation appointments in October 2008.Intervention 1: SMS reminders
Intervention 2: telephone reminders
No information availableAttendance rateInt=56%
Liew et al (2009) (also included in primary anlaysis)Chronic illnesses; randomised; MalaysiaIn total, 617 patients requiring chronic disease care from two primary care clinics in Kuala Lumpur.Intervention 1: SMS reminders
Intervention 2: telephone reminders Control: no reminders (included in primary meta-analysis)
One reminder: 24–48 hours before appointmentNon-attendance rateInt=16%
Control=23%
Nelson et al42 (2011)Paediatric dentistry; randomised; the USAIn total, 318 caregiver/child dyads attending a paediatric dentistry clinic at the University of Washington, Seattle.Intervention 1: SMS reminders
Intervention 2: telephone reminders
One reminder: 48 hours before appointmentAttendance rate
Non-attendance rate
Attendance
Int=82.3%
No show’
Int=17.7%
Norton et al43 (2014)Sexual health; randomised; the USAIn total, 52 adults from the Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC) Adult Infectious Diseases Clinic from June to August 2010.Intervention 1: SMS reminders
Intervention 2: telephone reminders
One reminder: 1 day before appointmentAttendance rateInt=72%
Percac-Lima et al44 (2014)Primary care; randomised; the USAIn total, 7488 outpatients from Massachusetts General Hospital Chelsea Healthcare Centre.Intervention 1: SMS reminder
Intervention 2: telephone reminders
Two reminders: 7 days and 1 day before appointmentNon-attendance rateInt=18%
Perron et al45 (2013)General health; randomised; SwitzerlandIn total, 3585 patients attending Geneva University Hospitals from November 2010 to April 2011.Intervention: SMS reminders
Intervention 2: telephone reminders
One reminder: 24 hours before appointmentNon-attendance rateInt=12%
  • ENT, ear nose throat; Int, intervention; SMS, short message service.