Background: Residency clinics with high no-show rates experience negative ramifications in patient health care, continuity, clinic productivity, and learning experiences for residents. This study tested patient education in the form of an exit interview to reduce no-show rates.
Methods: All eligible new patients at St. Mary's Family Practice Center between 1 February 1996 and 30 April 1997 were offered study enrollment. Patients with initial appointments during 5 of 9 clinic sessions were offered an exit interview with visit debriefing, written patient information where appropriate, and review of clinic policies. Missed patients or those with initial appointments during the remaining 4 sessions formed the control group. Interviewers were social work, medical, and nursing students. Insurance and subsequent appointment data were obtained from billing records. Median household income of ZIP codes in which patients resided was obtained from the 1990 Federal Census data. Data were analyzed using chi(2) tests, Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, and logistic regression.
Results: One hundred forty-six patients were enrolled into the intervention and 297 into the control group. Simple logistic regression showed a significant reduction in the risk of no-shows in the intervention group (odds ratio = 0.71, P =.04).
Conclusions: The exit interview improved attendance at subsequent visits.