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June 1984

Medical Consequences of Missed Appointments

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Medicine (Drs Bigby, Cook, and Goldman and Ms Pappius), the Department of Medicine (Drs Bigby and Goldman), and the Henry J. Kaiser Fellowship Program in General Internal Medicine (Drs Bigby and Goldman), Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(6):1163-1166. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350180075012

• "No-show" patients (n =100) were matched by age and number of appointments scheduled in a six-month period with 100 control patients who kept an appointment. No-show patients were less likely than control patients to have chronic medical problems (78% v 94%, respectively) and to be receiving long-term medications (58% v 73%, respectively) at the time of entry into this study. At follow-up at 29 to 51 weeks, no-show and control patients did not differ significantly in the development of new medical problems or the exacerbation of old medical problems either before or after controlling for differences in baseline health status. No hospitalizations or deaths could be directly attributed to a missed appointment. No-show patients were more likely than control patients to say they felt better at follow-up (42% v 26%, respectively). No-show patients may believe the benefit of keeping an appointment is not worth the inconvenience or expense. We suggest that physicians should carefully justify the need for a follow-up visit and consider negotiating follow-up schedules with their patients.

(Arch Intern Med 1984;144:1163-1166)

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