The influence of a short message service reminder on non-attendance in addiction care

Eric Blaauw, Ymke Riemersma, Carel Hartsuiker, Janet Hoiting, Simon Venema

Onderzoeksoutput: ArticleAcademicpeer review


Non-attendance in mental healthcare is a substantial problem. Research has
shown that sending a short message service (SMS) reminder could reduce non-attendance by 50 percent in general health services and by 25 percent in mental health institutions. However, no studies exist on the effect of sending SMS reminders in mental healthcare for addiction. Objectives: To examine the influence of SMS reminders on non-attendance in mental health care for addiction and to examine whether different effects occur between appointments for intake or for treatment. Methods. In a specialized institution for addiction
care in the north of the Netherlands 193.474 appointments of outpatient patients, representing 12.797 unique patients, were analyzed for non-attendance and related to registered SMS reminders. Results: Non-attendance was statistically significantly lower for appointments of patients who had received an SMS reminder (20.5%) than for appointments of patients who had not received a reminder (21.9%). Effects were found to be greater for intake
appointments in several analyses. Conclusions: Sending an SMS reminder is associated with a statistically significant lower non-attendance at appointments by patients with a substance use disorder, but the differences have hardly any clinical significance. Special characteristics of the population of patients with substance use disorders may explain this small clinical effect.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's6
TijdschriftSubstance Use & Misuse
StatusPublished - 7 jul. 2019


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