Objective: This study aimed to determine the appointment reminder preferences of patients presenting to rheumatology clinics.
Methods: An anonymous, self-directed survey was given to all patients attending our rheumatology clinic. Patients indicated age and reminder preferences in modality and timing. Patients were then divided into generational age groups as follows: generation Y (18–28 years), generation X (29–49 years), baby boomers (50–67 years), the silent generation (68–85 years), and the GI generation (≥86 years). Overall preferences, as well as preferences by generational age groups, were determined.
Results: A total of 1000 survey forms were distributed among the patients; 949 were collected for a response rate of 94.9%. Of these 949 survey forms, we analyzed 637 (67.1%) and excluded 312 (32.9%).
Of all patients, 99.5% viewed appointment reminders favorably. Most (72%, n = 461) of the patients surveyed indicated that they would prefer the timing of their reminder to be 4 days or less before their clinic appointment; 16% (n = 100) preferred timing between 5 and 7 days; another 12% (n = 77) of the patients indicated that they would prefer 8 days or longer in advance. Overall, the most preferred reminder modality was a telephone call (52%, n = 333). The least preferred modality overall was short message service (SMS)/text messaging (4%, n = 27). The most popular option selected in generation Y was text/SMS reminders, and patients belonging to that generational age group were more likely than any other group to favor text/SMS reminders (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Improved rheumatology clinic attendance would be beneficial given the need for disease assessment and medication monitoring. Most patients view appointment reminders favorably; however, no studies have assessed the modality and timing preferences of patients in a US rheumatology clinic. Modality, but not timing, preferences vary with generational age. The preference for newer modalities such as text/SMS reminder was predominately observed in the patients of generation Y, a population prone to clinic nonattendance.