The Problem of Missed Mental Healthcare AppointmentsAuthor(s): Marilyn J. Miller, Donna M. Ambrose
Missed appointments are a problem in all types of outpatient clinics including those providing mental healthcare. A review of literature was conducted to explore the problem of missed appointments in mental health and identify methods that have been used to improve attendance. Study results demonstrate that patients miss appointments for many reasons. Common reasons for missed appointments in the articles reviewed were the interval between scheduling and appointment day, forgetting, being discharged against medical advice, and problems with substance abuse. Effective in reducing no-shows was contact via phone, mail, or text messaging. No articles were found related to the use of positive reinforcement in reducing no-shows, which is an area to consider for further research. Clinicians may identify techniques from this review applicable to their particular clinical setting to improve clinic attendance.