Medical consequences of missed appointments

Arch Intern Med. 1984 Jun;144(6):1163-6.


"No-show" patients (n = 100) were matched by age and number of appointments scheduled in a six-month period with 100 control patients who kept an appointment. No-show patients were less likely than control patients to have chronic medical problems (78% v 94%, respectively) and to be receiving long-term medications (58% v 73%, respectively) at the time of entry into this study. At follow-up at 29 to 51 weeks, no-show and control patients did not differ significantly in the development of new medical problems or the exacerbation of old medical problems either before or after controlling for differences in baseline health status. No hospitalizations or deaths could be directly attributed to a missed appointment. No-show patients were more likely than control patients to say they felt better at follow-up (42% v 26%, respectively). No-show patients may believe the benefit of keeping an appointment is not worth the inconvenience or expense. We suggest that physicians should carefully justify the need for a follow-up visit and consider negotiating follow-up schedules with their patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Compliance*