Q: Is it permissible to leave appointment reminders on patients’ answering machines or voice mail if no one answers the phone?
A: Leaving messages containing PHI to remind patients of their appointments is acceptable if your Notice of Privacy Practices notifies them of this practice. However, don’t include any information about a patient’s condition or treatment when leaving these messages because you don’t know whether other household members may listen to them.
An acceptable message would be: "This message is for John Smith. This is XYZ Surgical Center calling to remind you of your appointment at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Please call us at 555/555-5555 if you have any questions. Thank you."