Administrative Changes to Decrease Patient Absenteeism: A Quality Improvement Project

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephanie Canipe (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Patient no-shows are individuals who fail to attend outpatient medical appointments without notification. This detrimental behavior leads to poor health outcomes , decrease in access to care , and financial losses. A literature review showed that enhancing communication techniques related to appointment reminders can lower non-attendance rates in a variety of outpatient clinic settings. Evidence-based information led to the formation of a quality improvement project with the aim of improving patient attendance with new communication techniques. Interventions included collecting data daily about all no-shows , performing a manual telephone reminder 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment , and surveying the current patient population regarding their preferences for appointment reminders. The results revealed that the clinic no-show rate decreased from 7% to 1.3% during the eight-week project implementation. In addition , patient survey data demonstrated that 41% of the participants wished to have their reminder messages sent by text message; yet only 10% of the population were receiving them. Implications of the manual phone call reminders were an improved no-show rates despite patients' preferences for text message reminders. Future projects directed at enrolling patient cellphone numbers as the primary SMS appointment reminder may be both desirable and beneficial.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Patient no-show; non-attendance; primary care; text-messaging; attitude; inefficiency; reminder systems; generations; appointment preferences; telephone reminders; follow-up; QI project; Cochrane database

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