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J Subst Abuse Treat. 1995 May-Jun;12(3):207-12.

Effects of an appointment reminder call on patient show rates.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Division for Addiction Studies, Philadelphia, USA.


A pilot study (N = 80) was conducted to determine if (1) prospective substance-dependent patients randomly selected to be reminded (TC) of their scheduled intake evaluation the day before their first appointment would have a higher show rate than those not contacted (NC); and (2) if TC subjects administered a satisfaction questionnaire 1-3 days after intake would exhibit higher treatment retention rates at one week and one month posttreatment entry than NC subjects not exposed to the questionnaire. The findings suggest that reminding prospective patients of their initial scheduled appointments and following up with phone calls to those who fail to show can improve the rate at which patients will initiate treatment, provided initial appointments are scheduled in a timely manner (7 days or less). Similarly, the combination of the reminder call and the satisfaction questionnaire were associated with higher treatment retention rates for those whose initial appointments were scheduled in a timely manner.

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