Effectiveness of outreach to patients with diabetes who have fallen out of regular care at a federally qualified health center

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2012 Aug;23(3):1036-47. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2012.0089.


Re-engaging patients who have fallen out of regular care is a challenge for all primary care practices, but especially for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). We implemented and evaluated a system of proactive telephone and mail outreach within an FQHC serving a predominantly Latino and Spanish-speaking population for patients with diabetes who had not had a visit to the health center for at least six months. The primary study outcome was the proportion of patients who completed a follow-up visit within three months of the outreach. We also examined patient characteristics associated with completing a follow-up visit. Of 208 patients eligible for outreach, 24% (n = 49) completed a follow-up visit. Thirty-six percent (n = 74) had a disconnected or incorrect phone number, 16% (n = 34) were not reached within three phone call attempts, and 20% (n = 22) of letters mailed were returned to sender. Future efforts to re-engage patients in diabetes care should examine shorter intervals before outreach and other outreach strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Dropouts*
  • Safety-net Providers