Publication Date

2015

Abstract

The purpose of this practice change was to increase the percentage of patients attending their appointments with their health care providers at an urban health center serving female patients. When patients fail to attend their scheduled medical appointment it impacts the organizational efficiency, continuity of care, and can affect patient health care outcomes (Perron et al., 2010). The health center in this project had a patient no-show rate of approximately 13%. With input from the authors, the health center manager made the decision to use the innovation of having medical assistants make patient reminder telephone calls at 48 and 24 hours prior to all scheduled appointments. Evidence from research reports show this technique is effective in reducing the number of patient no-shows in various clinical settings. The practice change project was initiated after developing and reviewing a proposal with the health center manager. A Call Tracking Form was completed by the medical assistants making reminder phone calls in order to identify who was called, at what interval(s), and if the appointment was confirmed. During the nine-weeks of practice change implementation a total of 699 appointments were scheduled with fifty-seven percent of these patients receiving reminder phone calls at 24 and 48 hours. In a nine week period prior to implementing this change, forty five of the 355 scheduled patients failed to attend their scheduled appointment, for a no-show rate of 13%. This is compared to 72 of the 699 patients with scheduled appointments during the practice change failing to attend a scheduled appointment, for a post-change no-show rate of 10%. In conclusion, reminder phone calls were effective in increasing the number of patients who attended their scheduled medical appointments. The combined effect of the reminder phone calls reduced the no-show rate by approximately 3%.

Subjects

Medical appointments and schedules; Primary health care--Methods; Primary health care--Methodology

Publication Information

NRS 597: Practice Improvement Project.

Copyright for this work is retained by the authors.

Peer-Reviewed

No

Document Type

Doctoral Project

Included in

Nursing Commons

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