Step 2: Consider the pros and cons of different reminder methods

steps This section covers the following steps:

Step 2.1 Consider surveying your patients
Step 2.2 Learn more about recall and reminder products

There are multiple ways a practice can send reminders, such as:

  • SMS
  • emails
  • letters
  • phone calls
  • voice messages

In the video below, practices that participated in North Coast Primary Health Network’s ‘Women’s Cancer Screening Collaborative’ talk about their experience of using different methods to support cancer screening reminders. 

Success in practice:

Success in practice:

“Prior to undertaking cancer screening quality improvement, our reminders were via letter, and our recalls were via phone call. This approach was both costly and time consuming – people often won’t answer their phone during work hours so staff had to make multiple calls to finalise a recall. For recalls, we are finding we are receiving a response to the initial SMS within hours, in most cases. Most people appear to check for messages at breaks. This has significantly reduced the time spent on the telephone by receptionists.

"For reminders, I have reduced the number of monthly reminder letters from approximately 100 down to 30. The remainder are going by SMS. This has made significant time and [cost] savings.” 9

-- Vicki Coombes, Practice Manager, Star Street Medical, Macksville NSW

  • Learn more about how Vicki introduced changes to Star Street’s recall and reminder system

Step 2.1 Consider surveying your patients

As the video above highlights, different reminder systems work best for different practices. Consider surveying your patients to better understand their preferences for receiving reminders.

This may be an anonymous survey that captures general preferences. Or, you may survey patients in a way that includes their name as a way to update their reminder preferences in your practice software. It is important that those who wish to be opted out from reminders are opted out.

Step 2.2 Learn more about recall and reminder products

Use the links below to learn more about the recall and reminder products available from commonly used software vendors. Decide if you will make changes to how you deliver your recalls and reminders. Your PHN representative may also be able to provide advice on options available for recall and reminder systems.

Software provider

Recall and reminder product information

Best Practice

Bp Premier Reminders Guide PDF


Recall CAT – SMS and voice messaging for CAT4

Genie Solutions

SMS Reminders or search the Genie Solutions Knowledgebase

Medical Director

Recall, Reminders, Actions and Outstanding Requests Fact Sheet

ZedMed Recalls, Reminders and allowing SMS reminders