BACKGROUND: Failure to keep medical appointments results in inefficiencies and, potentially, in poor outcomes for patients. The aim of this study is to describe non-attendance rate and to investigate predictors of non-attendance among patients receiving hospital outpatient treatment for chronic diseases.
METHODS: We conducted a historic, register-based cohort study using data from a regional hospital and included patients aged 18 years or over who were registered in ongoing outpatient treatment courses for seven selected chronic diseases on July 1, 2013. A total of 5895 patients were included and information about their appointments was extracted from the period between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015. The outcome measure was occurrence of non-attendance. The associations between non-attendance and covariates (age, gender, marital status, education level, occupational status, specific chronic disease and number of outpatient treatment courses) were investigated using multivariate logistic regression models, including mixed effect.
RESULTS: During the two-year period, 35% of all patients (2057 of 5895 patients) had one or more occurrences of non-attendance and 5% of all appointments (4393 of 82,989 appointments) resulted in non-attendance. Significant predictors for non-attendance were younger age (OR 4.17 for 18 ≤ 29 years as opposed to 80+ years), male gender (OR 1.35), unmarried status (OR 1.39), low educational level (OR 1.18) and receipt of long-term welfare payments (OR 1.48). Neither specific diseases nor number of treatment courses were associated with a higher non-attendance rate.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing hospital outpatient treatments for chronic diseases had a non-attendance rate of 5%. We found several predictors for non-attendance but undergoing treatment for several chronic diseases simultaneously was not a predictor. To reduce non-attendance, initiatives could target the groups at risk.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency (Project ID 18/35695 ).