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SMS Text Message Healthcare Appointment Reminders in England

Car, Josip MD, PhD; Ng, Cindy MBBS; Atun, Rifat MBBS, FRCGP; Card, Alan MPH

Journal of Ambulatory Care Management: July-September 2008 - Volume 31 - Issue 3 - p 216–219
doi: 10.1097/01.JAC.0000324666.98777.6d
Original Article

Missed appointments place a costly and disruptive strain on National Health Service resources in England. One major source of missed appointments appears to be insufficient communication between patients and providers. SMS text messaging shows promise as a simple, cost-effective means of bridging this communications gap. SMS provides an instant and asynchronous means of communication that protects patient privacy. The potential for this technology is balanced, however, by the lack of high-quality evidence to support its use. There is an urgent need for robust evaluation of critical quality, safety, cost implications, and acceptability before the large-scale rollout of SMS-based systems.

From the Department of Primary Care and Social Medicine, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom (Dr Josip Car and Dr Cindy Ng); Centre for Health Management, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom (Prof Rifat Atun); and Evidence-Based Health Solutions, LLC, Davenport, Florida (Mr Alan Card).

Corresponding author: Josip Car, MD, PhD, Department of Primary Care and Social Medicine, Imperial College, 3rd Floor Reynolds Building, St Dunstan's Road, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.