DEAR MISS MANNERS: When a doctor's receptionist calls to confirm your appointment and you are out, they practically demand that you call them to assure them you are keeping your appointment.
This is becoming epidemic. I find it annoying, as any respectable person will keep an appointment they make, or cancel it in a reasonable time. Thus I find this request rather insulting, as it translates to, "Assure me that you're an honest person."
GENTLE READER: The receptionist, who undoubtedly agrees with you about the importance of keeping appointments, would answer that the epidemic is among patients who do not. And being a member of a medical staff, he or she has a professional aversion to epidemics of any kind.
Miss Manners does not consider that the cure is worse than the disease. The reminder call is a kindness, so long as any request for confirmation is not too strongly worded. Doctors' offices do it as an alternative to the punitive, though acceptable, business practice of charging for missed appointments as if they had occurred.