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Scheduling Lead Time, Modality Can Predict Patient No-Shows


Imaging appointments booked 6 months or longer ahead have highest no-show rate.

Modality type of imaging appointments and scheduling lead time were the most predictive factors of patient no-shows, according to a study published in The Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle performed a retrospective analysis to determine why patients did not show up for imaging appointments, specifically for radiography, CT, mammography, MRI, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine examinations.

The analysis included 2,893,626 outpatient examinations performed between 2000 to 2015, identifying no-show visits by the “reason code” entry “NOSHOW” in the radiology information system. The variables included modality, patient age, appointment time, day of week, and scheduling lead time.

The results revealed 94,096 no-shows among the almost 2.9 million patient visits. The rates of no-show visits varied from 3.36 percent in 2000 to 2.26 percent in 2015. The researchers noted the effect size for no-shows was strongest for modality and scheduling lead time. Other findings included:

• Mammography had the highest modality no-show visit rate at 6.99 percent
• Radiography had the lowest modality no-show rate at 1.25 percent
• Scheduling lead time longer than 6 months was associated with more no-show visits than scheduling within a week
• Patients 60 years and older were less likely to miss imaging appointments than patients under 40
• Mondays and Saturdays had significantly higher rates of no-show than Sundays

The researchers concluded that modality type and scheduling lead time were the most predictive factors of no-shows. They noted that this information may be used to guide new interventions such as targeted reminders and flexible scheduling.

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