Text message reminders for improving patient appointment adherence in an office-based buprenorphine program: A feasibility study

Babak Tofighi, Frank Grazioli, Sewit Bereket, Ellie Grossman, Yindalon Aphinyanaphongs, Joshua David Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Missed visits are common in office-based buprenorphine treatment (OBOT). The feasibility of text message (TM) appointment reminders among OBOT patients is unknown. Methods: This 6-month prospective cohort study provided TM reminders to OBOT program patients (N = 93). A feasibility survey was completed following delivery of TM reminders and at 6 months. Results: Respondents reported that the reminders should be provided to all OBOT patients (100%) and helped them to adhere to their scheduled appointment (97%). At 6 months, there were no reports of intrusion to their privacy or disruption of daily activities due to the TM reminders. Most participants reported that the TM reminders were helpful in adhering to scheduled appointments (95%), that the reminders should be offered to all clinic patients (95%), and favored receiving only TM reminders rather than telephone reminders (95%). Barriers to adhering to scheduled appointment times included transportation difficulties (34%), not being able to take time off from school or work (31%), long clinic wait-times (9%), being hospitalized or sick (8%), feeling sad or depressed (6%), and child care (6%). Conclusions: This study demonstrated the acceptability and feasibility of TM appointment reminders in OBOT. Older age and longer duration in buprenorphine treatment did not diminish interest in receiving the TM intervention. Although OBOT patients expressed concern regarding the privacy of TM content sent from their providers, privacy issues were uncommon among this cohort. Scientific Significance Findings from this study highlighted patient barriers to adherence to scheduled appointments. These barriers included transportation difficulties (34%), not being able to take time off from school or work (31%), long clinic lines (9%), and other factors that may confound the effect of future TM appointment reminder interventions. Further research is also required to assess 1) the level of system changes required to integrate TM appointment reminder tools with already existing electronic medical records and appointment records software; 2) acceptability among clinicians and administrators; and 3) financial and resource constraints to healthcare systems. (Am J Addict 2017;26:581–586).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Volume26
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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