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Lead time for appointment and the no-show rate in an ophthalmology clinic

Authors McMullen M, Netland P

Received 3 February 2015

Accepted for publication 24 February 2015

Published 18 March 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 513—516


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Michael J McMullen, Peter A Netland

Department of Ophthalmology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a correlation between the time in advance an appointment is scheduled and the no-show rate.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in an outpatient ophthalmology clinic. Appointment data were analyzed for 51,529 ophthalmology appointments in the computerized scheduling database during a 12-month period.
Results: The average no-show rate was 21.7% and 6.6% for resident- and faculty-clinic, respectively (P<0.001). The no-show rate increased, and the likelihood an appointment would be kept decreased as the time in advance an appointment was scheduled increased. With a lead time for appointment of 0–2 weeks, the average no-show rate was 9.1% and 2.4% for the resident- and faculty-clinic, respectively. With a lead time for appointment of 6 months, the average no-show rate increased to 38.3% (P<0.001) and 6.9% (P<0.001) for the resident- and faculty-clinic, respectively. A predicted no-show rate model showed approximately 2% reduction of the no-show rate for 10% increase of the proportion of patients scheduled within 2 weeks, potentially reducing the no-show rate by nearly 60% with all appointments scheduled 0–2 weeks in advance.
Conclusion: Clinic no-show rate increased as appointment lead time increased. Predictive models suggest that the implementation of a short-term appointment scheduling strategy may reduce the overall clinic no-show rate, particularly in clinic populations with a high no-show rate.

Keywords: compliance, clinic scheduling, appointment time, appointment access, advance access, open access scheduling

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