Automated Text Message Reminders Improve Radiation Therapy Compliance

Jun Tan, Alana Christie, Steven K. Montalvo, Catherine Wallace, Yulong Yan, Michael Folkerts, Alicia Yingling, David J Sher, Hak Choy, Steve B Jiang, Kenneth D Westover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Protraction of radiation therapy courses can lead to lower cancer control and cancer-specific survival rates. The requirement for daily, consecutive radiation treatments coupled with the complexities of multimodality cancer care and quality assurance can occasionally lead to missed patient appointments or clinical inefficiency. To determine whether an automated text messaging (short message service [SMs]) platform could improve patient compliance with scheduled radiation therapy delivery, we created an automated SMS platform to send daily reminders of radiation therapy appointments. Methods and Materials: An automated SMS text messaging program was used from July 2016 to January 2017 to deliver daily appointment time reminders to patients on an elective basis. Automated text messages were sent 2 hours before treatment appointments with appointment-specific information. We analyzed for compliance with radiation therapy appointments for patients who elected to receive SMS reminders versus those who did not. Results: Multivariate analysis of >37,000 encounters involving ∼3400 patients demonstrated that of the factors considered, nonreceipt of SMS appointment reminders had a strong association with 15- to 60-minute tardiness (odds ratio [OR], 1.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13-1.38; P <.0001), >60-minute tardiness (OR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.34-1.82; P <.0001) and no-shows (OR, 6.77; 95% CI, 5.45-8.41; P <.0001). Other demographic factors associated with decreased compliance included being early in a radiation therapy course, having an appointment earlier in the day, younger age, and male sex. Receipt of an SMS message did not correlate with overall treatment package time. Conclusions: Receipt of text messages correlates with compliance for radiation therapy appointments. Prospective randomized trials would be required to determine conclusively whether SMS is an effective intervention for improving compliance in populations at risk for being late to or missing radiation therapy appointments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Text Messaging
Synchronous Meteorological Satellite
messages
radiation therapy
Appointments and Schedules
Radiotherapy
confidence
cancer
intervals
Compliance
Odds Ratio
platforms
Confidence Intervals
assurance
encounters
Neoplasms
delivery
Quality of Health Care
Patient Compliance
requirements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Automated Text Message Reminders Improve Radiation Therapy Compliance. / Tan, Jun; Christie, Alana; Montalvo, Steven K.; Wallace, Catherine; Yan, Yulong; Folkerts, Michael; Yingling, Alicia; Sher, David J; Choy, Hak; Jiang, Steve B; Westover, Kenneth D.

In: International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Purpose: Protraction of radiation therapy courses can lead to lower cancer control and cancer-specific survival rates. The requirement for daily, consecutive radiation treatments coupled with the complexities of multimodality cancer care and quality assurance can occasionally lead to missed patient appointments or clinical inefficiency. To determine whether an automated text messaging (short message service [SMs]) platform could improve patient compliance with scheduled radiation therapy delivery, we created an automated SMS platform to send daily reminders of radiation therapy appointments. Methods and Materials: An automated SMS text messaging program was used from July 2016 to January 2017 to deliver daily appointment time reminders to patients on an elective basis. Automated text messages were sent 2 hours before treatment appointments with appointment-specific information. We analyzed for compliance with radiation therapy appointments for patients who elected to receive SMS reminders versus those who did not. Results: Multivariate analysis of >37,000 encounters involving ∼3400 patients demonstrated that of the factors considered, nonreceipt of SMS appointment reminders had a strong association with 15- to 60-minute tardiness (odds ratio [OR], 1.25; 95{\%} confidence interval [CI], 1.13-1.38; P <.0001), >60-minute tardiness (OR, 1.56; 95{\%} CI, 1.34-1.82; P <.0001) and no-shows (OR, 6.77; 95{\%} CI, 5.45-8.41; P <.0001). Other demographic factors associated with decreased compliance included being early in a radiation therapy course, having an appointment earlier in the day, younger age, and male sex. Receipt of an SMS message did not correlate with overall treatment package time. Conclusions: Receipt of text messages correlates with compliance for radiation therapy appointments. Prospective randomized trials would be required to determine conclusively whether SMS is an effective intervention for improving compliance in populations at risk for being late to or missing radiation therapy appointments.",
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