Text message appointment reminders to improve clinic attendance: A general internal medicine (GIM) clinic quality improvement (QI) project

Valdres, Rosalie
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The lack-of-attendance rate at outpatient clinics is an inherent problem for the global health system, the United States healthcare system, and the local healthcare system. We aimed to decrease the no-show rate by implementing a quality improvement (QI) project at the community General Internal Medicine (GIM) Clinic. This QI pilot project focused on the use of text message appointment reminders that were bundled with telephone reminders along with patient-reviews of the no-show policy. The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) process was used in implementing the system. The pre-intervention no-show rate was 27%. During the intervention, the no-show rate decreased to 22% the first week, 5% the second week, and 8% the third week. The number of patients who did not attend their clinic appointments decreased while the clinic’s reimbursement rate increased. The QI team expanded the use of the text message reminder system to all of the providers in the clinic. The QI pilot project improved the clinic attendance of the GIM Clinic. Consequently, the GIM Clinic staff adopted the QI project model. The model supports consistent care for healthy patients as well as those who are critically and chronically ill. Also, the adoption of the model will help to improve the clinic’s income.

Text message, QI, Quality improvement, GIM, General internal medicine