Diabetes mellitus like all chronic illnesses requires lifelong management (self or guided) with regular health professional support and supervision. Non-attendance at outpatient clinics (OPD) is a common cause of inefficiency in our current health care system causing undue wastage of clinician time and resources and potentially lengthening waiting times.
Aim: The aim of our pilot project was to improve our diabetes OPD from the current attendance of 78% to as close to 100% as possible.
Method: Two methods of intervention were used, (1) telephonic contact made by the patients paediatric diabetes specialist nurse on the day before or on the day of the clinic appointment to the patient or carer reminding them of the appointment and (2) SMS text messaging to the patient or relative reminding them of the appointment.
The study ran prospectively from October 2006 to June 2007 where in the first 3 months, no intervention was introduced and this period was the control arm of the study. The telephonic intervention arm ran from January 2007 to March 2007 and text messaging arm of the study from April 2007 to June 2007.
Results: The control arm had an attendance rate of 78%. In the telephonic arm, the attendance rate was 86% (P=0.21). This increased to 92% when the telephone contact was made with the patient themselves (age allowing), (P=0.049). In the text messaging arm the attendance rate was 84%, (P=0.35).
Conclusions: Both interventions showed an increase in the percentage of attendance rates, with the most effective method being telephone contact with the patient themselves (statistically significant). The cause of the lack of statistical significance in the other arms is most likely the small sample size of the study.
05 - 07 Nov 2008
British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes