The Impact of Electronic Patient Appointment Reminders on Attendance and Rebooking Rates

3 min read

In the digital age, healthcare providers are increasingly leveraging technology to improve patient care and streamline administrative processes. One such innovation is the use of electronic patient appointment reminders. These systems, which can send reminders via email, text message, or automated phone calls, have been shown to have a significant positive impact patient attendance and appointment rebooking rates.  

The Importance of Appointment Reminders 

Missed appointments are a common issue in healthcare, leading to wasted resources and longer wait times for other patients. They can also disrupt a patient’s care plan, potentially leading to worse health outcomes. Electronic appointment reminders can help mitigate this issue by providing patients with timely notifications about their upcoming appointments. 

The Impact of Electronic Patient Appointment Reminders on Attendance 

Several studies (see below) have demonstrated the effectiveness of electronic patient appointment reminders in improving attendance rates. For instance, a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care found that targeted reminder phone calls to patients at high risk of no-show significantly improved attendance rates.  

The timing and frequency of reminders also play a crucial role. Too many reminders may annoy patients, while too few may not adequately jog their memory. The optimal number and timing can vary depending on the patient population and the nature of the appointments. For example, patients with chronic conditions who require regular check-ups may benefit from more frequent reminders, while those with one-off appointments may only need one or two. 

The Impact of Electronic Reminders on Appointment Rebooking Rate

In addition to improving attendance, electronic reminders can also encourage patients to rebook their appointments if they can’t make the original time. This is particularly important in ensuring continuity of care.  

A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that an automated, interactive, rebooking system significantly reduced the rate of missed appointments. Patients who received a reminder and couldn’t attend their appointment were given the option to reschedule, ensuring that they still received the necessary care. 

The Future of Electronic Reminders for Patients 

As technology continues to evolve, so too will the capabilities of electronic reminder systems. Future developments could include more personalised reminders, integration with digital calendars, and the use of artificial intelligence to predict which patients are most likely to miss their appointments and need extra reminders. 

In conclusion, electronic patient appointment reminders can play a significant role in improving patient attendance and appointment rebooking rates. As healthcare continues to embrace digital solutions, these systems will be an invaluable tool in enhancing patient care and administrative efficiency. 


Steiner, John F., et al. “Optimizing Number and Timing of Appointment Reminders: A Randomized Trial.” The American Journal of Managed Care, 2018.

McLean, Sionnadh Mairi, et al. “Appointment Reminder Systems are Effective but not Optimal: Results of a Systematic Review and Evidence Synthesis Employing Realist Principles.” Patient Prefer Adherence, vol. 10, 2016, pp. 479-499.

Li, Lianjun, et al. “Association of Use of Electronic Appointment Reminders With Waiting Times in the Veterans Affairs Health System.” JAMA Netw Open, vol. 5, no. 2, 2022, e2148593. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.48593.

Boone, Claire E., et al. “How Scheduling Systems with Automated Appointment Reminders Improve Health Clinic Efficiency.” Journal of Health Economics, 2022.

Author(s). “The Effectiveness of SMS Reminders on Appointment Attendance: a Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Medical Systems, vol. 40, no. 4, 2016. DOI:10.1007/s10916-016-0452-2.

Parikh, Amay, et al. “The Effectiveness of Outpatient Appointment Reminder Systems in Reducing No-Show Rates.” The American Journal of Medicine, vol. 123, no. 6, 2010, pp. 542-548.

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