Texting tried as solution to mammogram appointment no-shows

Health PEI is hopeful that it can get more people to their mammogram appointments on time by reminding them with texts instead of phone calls.

The agency has already had some success in using texts to remind people of MRIs, which it started doing last December. In November of 2018 there were 18 missed MRI appointments, but there were only four in October of this year.

Health PEI started using text reminders for mammograms in July, and is planning to use them for other appointments as well.

"There's long waits in ultrasound," said Gailyne MacPherson, provincial director of diagnostic imaging.

"Approximately 40 people didn't show up in ultrasound last month as well as 40 people didn't show up on mammography. So when you have long wait times and that many people not showing up, you know you need to do something different."

Patients are being asked when the appointments are made if they would like text reminders, and Health PEI is partnering with a Charlottetown company that does the messaging. Phone call reminders are still available for people that want them.

"We are aware that not all things are suited to all people," said MacPherson.

Kevin Yarr/CBC

"We have to make sure that we can accommodate all different people."

The text reminders for ultrasound are more complicated, she said, because there is more information that needs to be communicated in order for the patient to be prepared. Health PEI is still considering the best way to do that.

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