A snap audit of “did not attend” patients in a gynecologic outpatient clinic
Babatunde A Gbolade
Fertility Control Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St James’s University Hospital, Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Objectives: To determine why patients failed to attend their gynecology outpatient clinic (GOPC) appointments on a particular day, and ascertain if the health care provider could demonstrate clear communication of their appointments, to justify referral back to their general practitioners.
Methods: This was a spontaneous audit of patients who failed to attend their scheduled GOPC appointments on a specific day in December 2008. We attempted to contact these patients by telephone, about 30 minutes after their missed appointments. A reaudit of the same clinic took place exactly one year later.
Findings: Of 21 patients booked for the clinic, 13 (62%) failed to attend their appointments without prior notice. For most of these patients, the health care provider could not demonstrate clear communication of their appointments to them, largely due to administrative errors and inaccurate contact details in the appointments system. A snap reaudit of the same clinic exactly one year later showed that only one of 18 booked patients failed to attend without prior notice. This is the first published spontaneous audit of “did not attend” patients in a gynecologic outpatient clinic.
Conclusion: When compared with retrospective or prospective audits, spontaneous audits of patients who failed to attend on the day can quickly and cheaply identify factors that can be remedied earlier. We suggest increased use of spontaneous audits as a means of enhancing patient care and reducing health care costs.
Keywords: appointments, spontaneous audit, hospital, administration
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