Relationship of scheduling interval to missed and cancelled clinic appointments

Jeff Whittle, Gordon Schectman, Na Lu, Bill Baar, Michael F Mayo-Smith
Journal of Ambulatory Care Management 2008, 31 (4): 290-302

BACKGROUND: The interval between when a clinical appointment is created and when it occurs may affect the rate of missed and cancelled appointments, affecting access and loss to follow-up, key component of quality.

METHODS: We examined this relationship in various clinic types across Veterans Health Administration clinics nationwide.

RESULTS: As the interval increased, the missed appointment rate increased from 12.0% at day 1 to 20.3% at day 13, then remained constant. Cancellation rates increased steadily from 19% during month 1 to 50% by month 12.

CONCLUSIONS: Scheduling interval has a modest effect on missed appointment rates but a large effect on cancellation rates.

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