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A Model Program to Reduce Patient Failure to Keep Scheduled Medical Appointments

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Community health center clinics that rely on scheduled appointments lose revenue and time when patients do not keep their appointments. Various approaches have been used to improve the rate of patient appointments kept. This article provides a model intervention program developed by a quality improvement committee at a Northwest Ohio community health center that is credited with significantly reducing rates of patient failure to keep scheduled medical and dental clinic appointments. The approach of this intervention program is different from others in that it was primarily designed to help patients learn how to become part of the solution to the problem. Community health center staff accomplishes this through engaging patients in a respectful and courteous manner and helping them understand the importance of their involvement in maintaining an efficient scheduling process to benefit all patients. Data collected from outpatient appointment records before and after implementation of the program indicate that missed appointments dropped to less than half the pre-intervention rate.

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Correspondence to Hans D. Schmalzried.

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Schmalzried, H.D., Liszak, J. A Model Program to Reduce Patient Failure to Keep Scheduled Medical Appointments. J Community Health 37, 715–718 (2012).

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