Monday, August 6, 2012

The power of check-up reminders

I think dental checkups are the best deal in terms of dental health. They cost relatively little, allow to detect dental problems early and before they turn into root canal procedures, and the dental cleaning gives me the impression that I have new teeth. Yet, because they are rather infrequent (every six months), one tends to forget about them or postpone them. The, how effective are reminders?

Steffen Altmann and Christian Traxler did a little field experiment, sending to clients of a German dentist no reminder, a neutral reminder or a reminder with an explanation of the benefits of a dental checkup. It turns out the reminder is very effective, and a neutral one is just as good as a "promotional" one. Indeed, people know checkups are a good deal, at least people who respond to reminders. No particular difference is detected between those with and without dental insurance.Interestingly, the impact of the reminder is so strong that it is still significant 100 days after sending it: Sending one is enough, people must be keeping it next to the telephone.

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