Effectiveness of text messages, calls and e-mail on adherence to medical appointments. Review of systematic reviews and meta-analysis

Arlex Uriel Palacios Barahona, Maritza Hernández Rendón, Andrés Gaviria Lopez, Ana Cristina Guerra Herrera, Edison Valencia Diaz, Eliana Martinez Herrera


Background: Mobile phones and all other forms of modern communication such as the Internet and instant messaging applications have become tools to improve attendance rates for medical appointments.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of reminders to improve adherence to medical appointments.

Methods: An overview of studies comparing the effectiveness and attendance rates for medical appointments between patients that did and did not receive reminders. Also, a meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the overall effect of keeping appointments depending on the age of the patients.

Results: Seven reviews were identified which show that Short Message Service (SMS) improves adherence to medical appointments. However, the meta-analysis showed a relative risk of 1,09 (CI 95%: 1,03 -1,11) for people with ages between 24 – 40 and 1,09 (CI 95% 1,05 – 1,14) for people with ages between 50 – 63, with regard to appointment assistance via SMS.

Conclusions: The use of SMS reminders has a positive impact on medical appointment attendance. However, while reviewing the impact by age groups no differences were found.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21615/cesmedicina.32.1.2

Palabras clave

Reminders systems, appointments and schedules; Health services, Systematic reviews; Text messaging

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Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.


Revista CES Medicina/ ISSN Impreso:0120-8705; Electrónico:2215-9177

Facultad de Medicina, Universidad CES.


Publicada desde 1987.


Universidad CES - Facultad de Medicina
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