Longer wait times for advanced imaging appointments increase the chance of missed appointments, according to a study published in The Journal of the American College of Radiology.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, performed a retrospective study to investigate the impact of wait days (WDs) on missed outpatient MRI appointments across different demographic and socioeconomic factors.
The researchers obtained scheduling and demographic data on 42,727 adult patients. Imaging missed appointments were defined as missed scheduled imaging encounters and WDs were defined as the number of days from study order to appointment.
The results showed that mean WDs were 7.95 days. There was an increased odds ratio for missed appointments for patients with WDs of between 7 and 21 days. Increased WDs were also found among patients who were African American or Hispanic, as well as for patients with noncommercial insurance, and whose imaging was to be performed at the main hospital campus.
The researchers concluded that longer wait times significantly increased the likelihood of missed appointments, particularly among underrepresented minorities and those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.