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August 1995

Effectiveness of Computer-Generated Telephone Messages in Increasing Clinic Visits

Author Affiliations

From the National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga (Mr Dini and Dr Linkins); and the Georgia Immunization Program, Georgia Division of Public Health, Atlanta (Mr Chaney).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(8):902-905. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170210076013

Objective:  To evaluate the effectiveness of computer-generated telephone reminder calls in increasing kept appointment rates in a public health setting.

Design:  Randomized controlled trial.

Setting:  Public health clinic, Georgia.

Patients:  Five hundred seventeen clients with scheduled appointments during a 4-week period at immunization, women, infant, and children; well-child; or family-planning programs.

Intervention:  A single computer-generated telephone reminder 1 day before each client's scheduled appointment.

Main Outcome Measure:  Rates of kept appointments.

Results:  Of the 277 clients assigned to receive the intervention, 144 (52%) kept their appointments, compared with only 78 (32.5%) of 240 who were not assigned to receive a message (P<.05). Improvement in kept appointment rates associated with receiving the message was highest for the immunization-program (183% increase, P<.05), with increases of 64%, 53%, and 44% for the well-child; women, infant, and children; and family-planning programs, respectively.

Conclusions:  These results suggest a simple and effective method to increase kept appointment rates in a variety of public health programs.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:902-905)