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Trial registered on ANZCTR

Registration number
Ethics application status
Date submitted
Date registered
Date last updated
Type of registration
Prospectively registered

Titles & IDs
Public title
Can short message service reminders reduce the do not attend rate in physiotherapy outpatient clinics?
Scientific title
Can short message service (SMS) reminders reduce the do not attend rate in patients attending physiotherapy outpatient clinics?
Secondary ID [1] 259946 0
No secondary ID
Universal Trial Number (UTN)
Trial acronym
Linked study record

Health condition
Health condition(s) or problem(s) studied:
Do not attend rate of patients with appointments at physiotherapy outpatient clinics 251922 0
Condition category
Condition code
Musculoskeletal 252102 252102 0 0
Other muscular and skeletal disorders
Physical Medicine / Rehabilitation 252151 252151 0 0
Public Health 252152 252152 0 0
Health service research

Study type
Description of intervention(s) / exposure
Short message service reminder for appointment in physiotherapy outpatients. Patients allocated to the short message service reminder group will be sent a reminder 2 days before their appointment if the appointment is made more than 3 days prior, or the day before the appointment if the appointment was made 2 days ago. It is expected that that intervention will be applied over a duration of 2 months.
Intervention code [1] 241342 0
Comparator / control treatment
Usual care, not receiving short message reminder for appointment in physiotherapy outpatients. Usual care entails not receiving a reminder at all at three sites (Box Hill, Angliss, Maroondah) and a telephone reminder 2 days before the appointment at Yarra Valley Community Health Service
Control group

Primary outcome [1] 252985 0
Do not attend rate, the number of scheduled appointments not attended as a proportion of the total number of scheduled appointments.
Timepoint [1] 252985 0
The next scheduled appointment
Secondary outcome [1] 257750 0
Cancellation rate (note that cancellations less than 24 hours prior to appointment will be defined as a did not attend)
Timepoint [1] 257750 0
The next scheduled appointment
Secondary outcome [2] 257751 0
Estimation of costs, including equipment, staff time in adminsitering the short message service calls, and the costs of any missed appointments in clinician time for a standard initial or repeat appointment.
Timepoint [2] 257751 0
At the end of the trial
Secondary outcome [3] 257752 0
Description of patients who did not attend compared to those who did attend in terms of age, sex, occupation, health condition, referral source, and timing of appointment. These data will be assessed from patient records.
Timepoint [3] 257752 0
The next scheduled appointment

Key inclusion criteria
Particpants will be included if they;
1. Have a physiotherapy appointment in an acute physiotherapy outpatient clinic at Angliss, Maroondah or Box Hill Hospitals or at the Yarra Valley Community Health Service
2. Provide a mobile phone number
3. Aged at least 18 years
4. Able to give verbal consent to participate
Minimum age
18 Years
Maximum age
No limit
Both males and females
Can healthy volunteers participate?
Key exclusion criteria
Participants will be excluded if:
1. They are attending sub-acute ambulatory care services or group programs
2. Cannot provide a mobile phone number through which they can be contacted
3. Have been given an appointment on the same day on which they make the appointment
4. Have already participated in the trial by being allocated for a previous appointment during the trial
5. Aged under 18 years
6. Not able to give verbal consent to participate

Study design
Purpose of the study
Educational / counselling / training
Allocation to intervention
Randomised controlled trial
Procedure for enrolling a subject and allocating the treatment (allocation concealment procedures)
Patients will be required to give verbal consent to participate at the time of making their appointment. The person making the appointment will read out a prepared script. If the patient agrees to participate a note will be placed in their file that they have given verbal consent. Eligible patients will be randomly allocated to the intervention (SMS reminder) or control group (usual care - no SMS reminder) for their next available appointment. The person who allocates will open a pre-prepared computer file where the allocation is concealed, and select the next subject in sequence and reveal their allocation by changing text from white to black in that cell.
Methods used to generate the sequence in which subjects will be randomised (sequence generation)
The sequence will be prepared by an independent researcher using web-based random number tables stratified for site (Box Hill, Angliss, Maroondah, Yarra Valley) in permuted blocks.
Masking / blinding
Blinded (masking used)
Who is / are masked / blinded?

Intervention assignment
Other design features
Not Applicable
Type of endpoint(s)
Statistical methods / analysis

Recruitment status
Date of first participant enrolment
Date of last participant enrolment
Date of last data collection
Sample size
Accrual to date
Recruitment in Australia
Recruitment state(s)
Recruitment postcode(s) [1] 2132 0
Recruitment postcode(s) [2] 2133 0
Recruitment postcode(s) [3] 2134 0
Recruitment postcode(s) [4] 2135 0

Funding & Sponsors
Funding source category [1] 243795 0
Name [1] 243795 0
Eastern Health
Address [1] 243795 0
5 Arnold Street, Box Hill, Victoria 3128
Country [1] 243795 0
Primary sponsor type
Nicholas Taylor
Level 3, 16 Arnold Street, Box Hill, Victoria 3128
Secondary sponsor category [1] 237149 0
Name [1] 237149 0
Deenika Benjamin
Address [1] 237149 0
Physiotherapy Department, Angliss Hospital, Albert Street, Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria 3156
Country [1] 237149 0

Ethics approval
Ethics application status
Ethics committee name [1] 243924 0
La Trobe University Faculty Human Ethics Committee
Ethics committee address [1] 243924 0
Faculty Human Ethics Committee
Faculty of Health Sciences
La Trobe University
Victoria 3086
Ethics committee country [1] 243924 0
Date submitted for ethics approval [1] 243924 0
Approval date [1] 243924 0
Ethics approval number [1] 243924 0
FHEC 09/193

Brief summary
Failure to attend appointments is a problem for health services. A high proportion of patients who do not attend (DNA) means that clinical and administrative staff are not efficiently employed, and results in longer waiting times for other patients that may increase the risk of further health problems. A recent audit of Eastern Health physiotherapy outpatient clinics found a DNA rate of 8.1%, representing more than 125 missed appointments per month.
A review of the literature indicates providing reminders can be an effective method of reducing DNA rates for health services, and a couple of recent observational studies have provided preliminary evidence that sending patients reminders via the short message service (SMS) on mobile phones can be an effective way of reducing DNA rates. Therefore, the aim of this trial is to find out if sending SMS reminders to patients with appointments at physiotherapy outpatient clinics is an effective way of reducing DNA rates.
Using a randomised controlled trial at 4 Eastern Health physiotherapy outpatient clinics, patients will be randomly allocated either to the group that will receive an SMS reminder or the group that receives usual care. The primary outcome is DNA rate, and secondary outcomes are cancellation rates and an initial estimation of costs in implementing the SMS reminder system.
Trial website
Trial related presentations / publications
Public notes

Principal investigator
Name 30331 0
Address 30331 0
Country 30331 0
Phone 30331 0
Fax 30331 0
Email 30331 0
Contact person for public queries
Name 13578 0
Nicholas Taylor
Address 13578 0
Level 3, Clive Ward Building
16 Arnold Street
Box Hill
Victoria 3128
Country 13578 0
Phone 13578 0
+61 3 9091 8874
Fax 13578 0
Email 13578 0
Contact person for scientific queries
Name 4506 0
Nicholas Taylor
Address 4506 0
Level 3, Clive Ward Building
16 Arnold Street
Box Hill
Victoria 3128
Country 4506 0
Phone 4506 0
+61 3 9091 874
Fax 4506 0
Email 4506 0

No information has been provided regarding IPD availability
Summary results
Have study results been published in a peer-reviewed journal?
Other publications
Have study results been made publicly available in another format?
Results – basic reporting
Results – plain English summary