Use of an orientation clinic to reduce failed new patient appointments in primary care

J Gen Intern Med. 2000 Dec;15(12):878-80. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2000.00201.x.


Patients who fail to attend initial appointments reduce clinic efficiency. To maximize attendance by newly referred outpatients, we introduced a mandatory group orientation clinic for all new patients and determined its effects on no-show rates. Orientation clinic also provided health care screening and opportunities for patient feedback. The new patient no-show rate for initial provider visits decreased significantly from 45% before institution of orientation clinic to 18% afterwards (P<.0001). The total no-show (patients who failed to attend orientation clinic or an initial provider visit) rate of the postintervention group was 51% (P = .28, compared with before the intervention). This intervention improved the efficiency and minimized the wasted time of our clinicians.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Dropouts / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • San Francisco