SMS reminder is more cost effective than telephone reminder in reducing non-attendance

  • KC Leong
  • WS Chen
  • KW Leong
  • Mastura I
  • Mimi O
  • Sheikh Mohd Amin
  • Zailinawati AH
  • CJ Ng
  • KL Phua
  • CL Teng


Non-attendance is common in primary care (see abstract by Zailinawati). The main reasons for non-attendance were forgetfulness, practice error and a mix-up over dates and times—all of which are remediable through appropriate reminder services. In this multicentre three-arm randomised controlled trial done in seven primary care clinics in Malaysia, there were two intervention arms consisting of text messaging (SMS) and mobile phone reminders given 24–48 hours prior to scheduled appointments. Control group did not receive any intervention. A total of 993 participants were eligible for analysis. Attendance rates of control, text messaging and mobile phone reminder groups were 48.1%, 59.0% and 59.6%, respectively. The cost of text messaging reminder (RM 0.45 per attendance) was lower than mobile phone reminder (RM 0.82 per attendance). The authors concluded that text messaging reminder system was effective in improving attendance rate in Malaysian primary care and it was more cost-effective compared with the mobile phone reminder. The publication of this randomised controlled trial in a high impact international journal is the result of collaboration between university academics, and primary care practitioners in public and private primary care clinics.
How to Cite
LeongK., ChenW., LeongK., IM., OM., Mohd AminS., AHZ., NgC., PhuaK., & TengC. (2006). SMS reminder is more cost effective than telephone reminder in reducing non-attendance. Malaysian Family Physician, 1(2 & 3), 1. Retrieved from
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