Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reducing Missed Appointments at the Health Centre

The aim of our project was to reduce the number of missed appointments at the Health Centre due to an increasing number of students missing appointments. We created 2 posters (image 1 and 2), which featured a variety of persuasive techniques. These posters were shared on university facebook groups (image 3), as well as around the university in week 9, where most Warwick students could see them. The number of missed appointments was slightly lower from week 9 to week 10, meaning our project made a slight difference.

Image 1: Have you missed a Health Centre appointment?

Image 2: What could you do with £160?

On social media the posters were displayed with the following captions:
  • HAVE YOU MISSED A HEALTH CENTRE APPOINTMENT? To cancel, simply call or text in advance! Missing appointments costs lives.
  • WHAT COULD YOU DO WITH £160? Every missed health centre apponitment costs the NHS £160. To cancel, simply call or text in advance! Missing appointments costs lives.

Image 3: Screenshots from University of Warwick Freshers Facebook group

Our posters also used data on the NHS medicine costs (data from Regional Drug & Therapeutics Centre Newcastle, 2015), in order to make non-attenders feel guilty about the impact of missed appointments (e.g. stating the £160 could pay for "7 years of inhalers for one person").

Using missed appointment data provided by the University of Warwick Health Centre, we found that missed appointments decreased by a small amount (1 hour) in the week after our posters were displayed. Therefore, our poster campaign may have had a slight effect on total missed appointment time.

Hallsworth, M., Berry, D., Sanders, M., Sallis, A., King, D., Vlaev, I., & Darzi, A. (2015). Stating appointment costs in SMS reminders reduces missed hospital appointments: Findings from two randomised controlled trials. PLoS One, 10 (9): e0137306. doi:10.137/journal.pone.0137306 

Regional Drug and Therapeutics Centre (Newcastle). (2015). Cost comparison charts, Retrieved from

Bryony Foote
Natasha Doughty
Luca Villa
Owain Ritchie

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