Unmet Social Needs and No-Show Visits in Primary Care in a US Northeastern Urban Health System, 2018-2019

Am J Public Health. 2020 Jul;110(S2):S242-S250. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2020.305717.


Objectives. To characterize the association between social needs prevalence and no-show proportion and variation in these associations among specific social needs.Methods. In this study, we used results from a 10-item social needs screener conducted across 19 primary care practices in a large urban health system in Bronx County, New York, between April 2018 and July 2019. We estimated the association between unmet needs and 2-year history of missed appointments from 41 637 patients by using negative binomial regression models.Results. The overall no-show appointment proportion was 26.6%. Adjusted models suggest that patients with 1 or more social needs had a significantly higher no-show proportion (31.5%) than those without any social needs (26.3%), representing an 19.8% increase (P < .001). We observed a positive trend (P < .001) between the number of reported social needs and the no-show proportion-26.3% for those with no needs, 30.0% for 1 need, 32.1% for 2 needs, and 33.8% for 3 or more needs. The strongest association was for those with health care transportation need as compared with those without (36.0% vs 26.9%).Conclusions. We found unmet social needs to have a significant association with missed primary care appointments with potential implications on cost, quality, and access for health systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • No-Show Patients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Transportation
  • Urban Health