Reminding patients by text message:Try reverse billing

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7414.564-c (Published 04 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:564
  1. Will Callaghan, internet editor Men's Health (will.callaghan{at}rodale.co.uk)
  1. London W1G 9AD

    EDITOR—The use of text messages to remind patients of appointments is truly joined up thinking.1 To save the NHS money, and to avoid the use of sponsored messages, the system's developers may like to consider reverse billing.

    The system is very common. Whether you've voted on Big Brother or signed up for text message alerts on your favourite soccer team, you will have come across it. The recipient of any message is billed a few pence on top of standard text charges, collected by their mobile phone network at statement time.

    Patients would obviously have to opt in for text messages under the Data Protection Act, so consent for reverse billing could be sought at the same time. Dare I say that this could generate extra revenue for cash strapped primary care trusts?


    • Competing interests None declared


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