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Impact of an SMS reminder service on outpatient clinic attendance rate by patients with HIV followed-up at Pointe-à-Pitre University Hospital

Authors Zebina M, Melot B, Binachon B, Ouissa R, Lamaury I, Hoen B

Received 1 August 2018

Accepted for publication 21 November 2018

Published 25 January 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 215—221


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Marine Zebina,1 Bénédicte Melot,1 Blandine Binachon,2 Rachida Ouissa,1 Isabelle Lamaury,1 Bruno Hoen1–3

1Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Dermatology, Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Pointe-à-Pitre, Pointe-à-Pitre, France; 2INSERM, Center for Clinical Investigation, University Hospital of Pointe-à-Pitre, Pointe-à-Pitre, France; 3EA 4537, Faculty of Medicine Hyacinthe Bastaraud, University of the French West Indies and French Guiana, Pointe-à-Pitre, France

Objective: By the end of 2014, 23% of people living with HIV (PWHIV) who had had a scheduled appointment at our outpatient clinic had not attended. We implemented an SMS reminder service and assessed its impact on medical consultation-attendance rate.
Methods: The intervention was directed at all PWHIV with a scheduled appointment between March and April 2015 at our infectious diseases department. Two days before the scheduled visit, an appointment reminder SMS was sent to every other patient at random. On the visit day, a questionnaire was used to determine patient perceptions regarding the SMS.
Results: A total of 224 patients (126 males, 98 females, mean age 52 years, 94% taking antiretroviral therapy) were selected to take part in the study. The medical consultation-attendance rate was 76% in the SMS reminder read group (87 patients) and 72% in the SMS reminder not sent or not read group (137 patients, P=0.6). Among the 66 SMS reminder read patients who attended their consultation and answered the questionnaire, 51% reported that the SMS had contributed to their attendance.
Conclusion: Sending an SMS reminder had no significant impact on clinic attendance rates. This may have been due in part to the sociocultural characteristics of our patients. Further research should investigate other tools to improve attendance rates.

Keywords: adherence, antiretroviral treatment, SMS, HIV, Guadeloupe

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