Background: Patient absenteeism in outpatient clinics represents a significant obstacle to the cost-effectiveness of healthcare. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of absence of patients and its associated factors in scheduled visits to a Preventive Medicine department.
Patients and methods: The cross-sectional study was carried out in the Service of Preventive Medicine of the Lozano Blesa University Clinical Hospital of Zaragoza. It included all the visits scheduled from 3 January to 31 March 2017. For each visit, the date and time were registered, together with the type (first or consecutive appointments), age, gender, town of residence, country of birth, and underlying disease. The Chi-squared test was used to determine the association between the variables and making the visit, with a multiple logistic regression analysis being performed on the variables in which a significant association was found.
Results: Of the total of 582 appointments studied, the absenteeism rate was 12.5% (73 out of 582; 13.7% for first appointments and 11.7% for consecutive appointments). Variables that revealed a significant association with patients not attending were: time (9.00-11:15 a. m.; OR=1.84; 95%CI: 1.10-3.08), day of the week (Mondays-Thursdays; OR=3.19; 95%CI: 1.12-9.07), country of birth (outside of Spain; OR=2.09; 95%CI:1.09-3.99), vaccination group (chronic kidney disease during pre-dialysis or dialysis; OR=3.59; 95%CI: 1.57-8.18), and age group (under 52 years old; OR=1.85; 95%CI: 1.08-3.19).
Conclusions: The rate of absenteeism is at an intermediate position compared to the outpatient visits for other departments. The detection of associated factors makes it possible to plan specific measures for improvements that may reduce absences.
Keywords: Absenteeism; Absentismo; Appointments and schedules; Citas y horarios; Consultas externas hospitalarias; Medicina preventiva; Outpatient clinics; Preventive medicine.
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