mHealth - Innovative Technology for a Sustainable Health Service - Part III – Failures to Attend

Despite generic SMS reminders, missed outpatient appointments still cost approximately $500,000 annually at St Vincent’s Hospital according to a NSW Premier & Cabinet Behavioural Insight paper published in December 2015. By way of solution, this particular study focused on trialing alternative static SMS messages, with mixed results.

More must be done to engage patients in managing their own health, including their appointments, but the question is what?

In a marginally older (2014) and seemingly unrelated article, IVR self-service costs 6 times less than a phone call, quotes Steven Morrell, author of The Inner Circle Guide to Self-Service: “Self-service can truly be ‘win-win’ for customers as well as businesses. In the past, most self-service has been about cutting businesses’ costs, but the joined-up thinking now being shown and the increasing acceptance that it’s now an omnichannel world is creating a coherent strategy that has the customer experience as well as cost management in mind.”

Replacing ‘customers’ with ‘patients’ and ‘businesses’ with ‘healthcare providers’, should we not focus on creating “a coherent strategy” using leading edge technological innovations to improve patient engagement whilst significantly reducing costs in areas such as Failures to Attend?

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