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.
- FAILED APPOINTMENTS