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East African Journal of Public Health
East African Public Health Association
ISSN: 0856-8960
Vol. 5, No. 3, 2008, pp. 154-156
Bioline Code: lp08028
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

East African Journal of Public Health, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2008, pp. 154-156

 en Why Patients Miss Follow-up Appointments: A Prospective Control-Matched Study
Van der Meer, G. & Loock, J.W.


Objectives: To investigate missed appointments in a South African tertiary hospital.
Study Design: Prospective, descriptive series with controls.
Setting: The ENT/Oncology clinic at Tygerberg Academic Hospital, South Africa. Subjects: 305 patients with a head and neck malignancy who had follow-up appointments over 4 consecutive months between June and September 2006. A control group of 31 patients who attended the clinic was recruited in September 2006.
Method: Analysis of the clinic attendance statistics to identify patients who missed follow-up appointments followed by a file review and interview of these patients. The results were compared with a control group. Outcome measures: 1) Incidence rate of failure to attend follow-up. 2) Causative factors
Results: 51 (17%) booked patients missed their appointments. Non-attenders were most likely to miss their follow-up between 6 and 12 months (17/31) after treatment. No correlations were found between diagnosis, disease stage and missed appointments.
Reasons include: transport (19 responses), ill-health (6) and financial constraints (5). State transport was unavailable to almost two-thirds of the responders who cited transport as a problem.
Conclusions: The 17% missed appointment rate is largely due to transport constraints. The commonest time for patients to miss appointments is the 6-12 month follow-up period. The authors seek to identify patients at risk of missed appointments and suggest interventions to decrease this incidence.

Cancer, Appointments, Transport, Follow-up

© Copyright 2008 - East African Journal of Public Heath

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