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Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science ; 62(8), 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1378706


Purpose : No-show appointments may be associated with significant detriments to patient outcome, practice efficiency, and practice financial status. The purpose of this study is to investigate reasons patients failed to attend scheduled appointments at an outpatient ophthalmology clinic at an academic medical center. Methods : The study protocol was reviewed and deemed exempt from further review by the Penn State College of Medicine Institutional Review Board. A scheduling software was used to identify all adult patients who did not attend their scheduled ophthalmology clinic appointments at Penn State Eye Center from 11/9/20 to 12/16/20. Potential subjects were contacted by phone to conduct a brief phone interview. Subjects willing to participate were asked to specify the reason(s) they did not attend their appointment, and to suggest interventions that would help them attend. Descriptive statistical methods were used to describe the reasons for missed appointments and suggested interventions. Results : Of the 325 patients identified, 160 (49.2%) were reached by telephone and participated in the phone survey. The most common reason for non-attendance reported was forgetting the appointment (35.6%), followed by being unaware of appointment (20.6%), scheduling conflict (13.1%), and illness (11.9%). Eighteen patients (11.3%) reported transportation difficulty and two patients (1.3%) reported financial burden. Six patients (3.8%) reported concern for the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for non-attendance. Fifty-seven patients suggested potential interventions that would help them attend their visits, with the most common being the provision of a reminder (49.1%), followed by providing aid with transportation (15.8%) and sending multiple modalities of reminders (14.0%). Conclusions : In this study conducted at an outpatient ophthalmology clinic at an academic center, the most common reasons for non-attendance were patients forgetting about the appointment and being unaware of the appointment. This finding is supported by the interventions suggested by the patients, which consisted primarily of providing appointment reminders. Patients also noted difficulty with transportation and suggested assistance with transportation to the clinic. These findings may facilitate the development and implementation of specific interventions to decrease the patient no-show rate.