We investigated the effect of sending reminders for patients to attend appointments for tooth scaling. A total of 389 outpatients were assigned to three intervention groups (reminders sent by postcard, mobile-phone text message or telephone call) and one control group. Reminders accompanied by short health education messages were sent to patients in each of the intervention groups. The outpatient revisiting behaviour of the patients was monitored. Patients who were reminded to come in for tooth scaling were 2.6 (95% CI 1.3-5.4) to 2.9 (CI 1.1-7.8) times more likely to revisit compared to those who were not reminded. For every one point increase in the patient satisfaction score, patients were 3.8 (CI 1.2-11.6) times more likely to revisit. Patients with a high level of patient satisfaction and who had also received a reminder had the highest return rates (26%). Most patients (89-96%) had good feelings regarding the reminders; 65% of the patients agreed that reminders had enhanced their intention to revisit; 91% of patients hoped to continue to receive reminders concerning broader dental health information. A reminder combined with health education is an effective way of improving preventative dental visiting behaviour.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics