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The effect of reminder calls in reducing non-attendance rates at care of the elderly clinics

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-10, 04:39 authored by F Dockery, Chakravarthi RajkumarChakravarthi Rajkumar, C Chapman, C Bulpitt, C Nicholl
Background - DNA ("did not attend") at outpatient clinics is an important problem costing the NHS an estimated £266 million annually. The national DNA rate for 1996-1997 for all clinics was 12%. The DNA rate at Hammersmith Hospital for the same year in the care of the elderly specialty was 21%. The aim of this study was to establish why this was so, and to test the efficacy of a reminder call in increasing attendance rates at care of the elderly clinics. Methods - 23 DNAs from seven clinics were contacted to ascertain the reasons for non-attendance (group I). For seven further clinics, 84 patients were contacted in advance to reconfirm their appointment (group II). Results - From group II 12 patients were identified who were unaware of their appointment (14%), six of whom agreed to attend; thus six potential DNAs were prevented. Eleven vacant appointments were identified in advance. The unexpected DNA rate was reduced to 5% from a potential 21% as a result of this exercise. The DNA rate for all patients with dementia (both groups) was 44%, whereas the DNA rate for all patients without this diagnosis (both groups) was 16% (p < 0.001). Conclusions - A preclinic phone call reminder to elderly patients is feasible, increases attendance rates, and identifies vacant appointments. Patients with dementia are more likely to miss clinic appointments; therefore they and their carers need specific reminders about appointment dates.


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  • Published


Postgraduate Medical Journal







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  • Clinical and Experimental Medicine Publications

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