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.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reducing Missed Appointments at the University of Warwick Health Centre

Our group made a poster with the aim of reducing missed appointments at the University of Warwick health centre. We chose this topic because missed appointments cost the National Health Service (NHS) huge amounts of money every year, and on a smaller scale £160 per appointment missed.

Hallsworth et al’s (2015) study found that informing patients that missing their appointment would cost the NHS £160 in their text message appointment reminder reduced missed appointments by almost a quarter. For this reason, we chose to emphasize this number on our posters. As research has shown salience is important in persuasion and that large bodies of text are often ignored (Vlaev, 2015), we designed the poster to have minimal text and the £160 figure large, attention-grabbing, and with a stack of money beneath. In the small amount of text we included two easy ways to contact the health centre to cancel appointments, by phone or text. We posted our poster on social media groups for University of Warwick students and at popular locations around campus.

We used data from the University of Warwick health centre which records weekly missed appointments and compared data from the week before our posters were displayed, to the data from two weeks later. Missed appointment time decreased by approximately 3 hours, which we hope is as a result of our posters.


Hallsworth, M., Berry, D., Sanders, M., Sallis, A., King, D. et al (2015). Stating appointment costs in SMS reminders reduces missed hospital appointments: Findings from two randomised controlled trials. PLoS ONE(10):10

Vlaev, I. (2015) Salience. Unpublished raw data.

Rachel Fraser
Carolyn Noorderhaven
Imogen O’Malley
Katie Kenton

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