The use of postal reminders to reduce non-attendance at an orthodontic clinic: A randomised controlled trial.

S. Can, Tatiana MacFarlane, K. D. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To evaluate the effect of issuing a patient reminder plus a confirmation slip on the attendance of orthodontic new patients.

Setting Department of Orthodontics, University Dental Hospital of Manchester.

Design A randomised controlled trial.

Method New patients were randomly allocated to: i) receive a reminder letter and return a confirmation slip or ii) not receive a reminder. Outcome measures Patient attendance at the clinic.

Results A total of 232 patients were entered into the study between June 18, 2001 and August 29, 2001. These were randomly allocated to 115 ( 49.8%) in the reminder group and 116 ( 50.2%) in the no reminder group. If the patient received a reminder and returned the confirmation they were less likely to fail the appointment than if they did not receive a reminder (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.96) There was an effect of social deprivation, if the patients lived in an area of high social deprivation they were 2.7 ( 95% CI 1.1 to 6.5) times more likely to fail to attend an appointment than people who were more affluent.

Conclusions The use of postal reminders for orthodontic consultation appointments appears to result in a useful increase of appointments that are kept or cancelled in advance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-201
Number of pages2
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003



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