Identifying Patient Preferences in Appointment Reminders for Adults to Reduce Missed Appointments in an Outpatient Mental Health Clinic: A Quality Improvement Project
Date of Award
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Laura DeMars, EdS, MS, BS
Traci Sims, DNS, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
Background: Missed appointments or no-shows are a problem across all healthcare settings affecting service delivery, healthcare cost, and resource utilization. Effective use of clinical resources is critical in defraying costs and managing the growing demands facing healthcare providers.
Purpose: This project aims to identify patient preferences in appointment reminders to reduce missed appointments among adults in an outpatient mental health clinic.
Methods: A randomized convenience sampling method was utilized for participants completing a 28-item paper questionnaire to identify preferences in appointment reminders, the number of and reasons for missed appointments, technology access and usage, and demographic information.
Results: Seventy-five adults in an outpatient mental health clinic completed a questionnaire, with a mean age of 43 (range 18-67) years: 49% Female, 51% Male, 35% White, 61% Black, and 3% Hispanic. In the past 12 months, 39% of patients missed one or more appointments. Two primary reasons for missing appointments were forgetfulness (17%) and being too sick to attend (9%). The two most preferred appointment reminder types were text messages (62%) and personal phone calls (31%). Most patients preferred a one-day before appointment reminder (57%) or a three-day before appointment reminder (35%).
Conclusion: Patient-centered appointment reminders may improve appointment attendance by considering patient preferences and addressing why patients miss appointments. Future research is needed to determine if utilizing preferred reminders will impact appointment attendance. Identifying all possible factors underlying no-shows with appropriate mitigation strategies may help reduce missed appointments.
Edwards, Katina, "Identifying Patient Preferences in Appointment Reminders for Adults to Reduce Missed Appointments in an Outpatient Mental Health Clinic: A Quality Improvement Project." , Georgia State University, 2023.
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