Increased Likelihood of Missed Appointments ("No Shows") for Racial/Ethnic Minorities in a Safety Net Health System

J Prim Care Community Health. 2016 Jan;7(1):38-40. doi: 10.1177/2150131915599980. Epub 2015 Aug 18.


Missed appointments have been linked to adverse outcomes known to affect racial/ethnic minorities. However, the association of missed appointments with race/ethnicity has not been determined. We sought to determine the relationships between race/ethnicity and missed appointments by performing a cross-sectional study of 161 350 patients in a safety net health system. Several race/ethnicity categories were significantly associated with missed appointment rates, including Hispanic/Latino patients, American Indian/Alaskan Native patients, and Black/African American patients, as compared with White non-Hispanic patients. Other significant predictors included Mexico as country of origin, medical complexity, and major mental illness. We recommend additional research to determine which interventions best reduce missed appointments for minority populations in order to improve the care of vulnerable patients.

Keywords: ethnic disparities; health disparities; missed appointments; no shows; primary care; racial disparities.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vulnerable Populations / statistics & numerical data*