Breast Cancer Centers Use Text Message Reminders to Increase Screening Attendance

Text Message Communication

If you’re a mobile phone user, chances are you’ve received an automated emergency alert or weather notification at some point. For example, if you own an iPhone, open up your settings. You will see the option to switch on Amber Alerts and Severe Weather Notifications. Text communication is a great way to reach a large number of people in a matter of seconds. The following example is a great representation of the effectiveness of text communication.

A study was recently released by Cancer Research UK that detailed the attendance of breast cancer screening appointments. A group of almost 900 women was used to test out the hypothesis. These women were between the ages of 47 and 53. They were also first time breast cancer screening patients. It was assumed that text message reminders would help increase appointment attendance and decrease no shows. The experimental group was sent a text message reminder about their screening, while the control group was not.

It was observed that the group who was sent text message reminders prior to the appointment experienced much higher attendance rates compared to the group who did not receive a reminder. Specifically, with text message reminders, attendance increased by 20%.

If you regularly attend doctor’s appointments, you probably receive some sort of phone call or voicemail reminder. Studies show that most people prefer to open a text message when compared to a voicemail. Not only is it more convenient to read, but it’s also more effective.

When it comes to matters of health and wellness, it’s important to prioritize appointment attendance. Many people will take that first step and make an appointment, but either forget to follow through, or simply back out at the last minute due to nerves.

Sending out a text message reminder 24 hours prior to the appointment will encourage patients to keep these commitments.

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