The online psychiatric news service PsychiatricTimes.com posted “6 Ways to Reduce No-Shows (and Save Lives) on 7-20-17. This brief article discusses the problems, well-known to you I am sure, of no-shows, including potential risk of a bad outcome (including suicide). It goes on to provide some tips about how to reduce no-shows, most of which could be useful to non-psychiatrists.
The author reviews some statistics about no-shows, including the fact that the longer a new patient has to wait for the Intake appointment the more the no-show rate goes up. Also, obviously, being able to see new patients sooner will likely reduce the intensity of their treatment needs. The author also provides a list of 10 indicators of a higher risk for no-shows, including transportation problems and being treated by a resident in an academic setting. Research on no-shows finds that a personal reminder is more effective than an automated reminder. For clinicians who do not have the resources to have someone call all patients with appointment reminders, the author recommends creating a limited list of patients with more of a risk for no-shows (using the info from the list of 10 indicators). Finally, the author notes that research on patients who drop out of psychiatric treatment prematurely have a significantly higher risk of suicide. This supports reaching out to your patients how have dropped out, either with a personal phone call or a mailed card, and the author provides a suggested script for the card.
The full article, a slide show, is available online for free.