Predictors of missed appointments for psychiatric consultations in a primary care clinic

Psychiatr Serv. 1996 Aug;47(8):848-52. doi: 10.1176/ps.47.8.848.


Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine predictors of missed appointments for psychiatric consultations among patients in a general medical clinic.

Methods: The charts of 180 patients consecutively referred for psychiatric consultations at a university-affiliated primary care clinic were reviewed. Ninety patients missed appointments for these consultations. Parametric and nonparametric tests were used to compare patients who missed and did not miss appointments on demographic and clinical variables, as well as measures related to patients' interactions with the clinic and the referring clinician.

Results: Logistic regression analysis revealed three significant predictors of missed appointments. Patients with mild distress and those with significant resistance to seeing a psychiatrist were more likely to miss appointments, as were those who had to wait longer between the referral and the appointment date.

Conclusions: The results suggest that shortening the wait for a psychiatric consultation, reserving consultation for more severe cases, and working to reduce patients' resistance to consultation will reduce the number of missed appointments.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Cost Control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / economics
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Dropouts / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Probability
  • Psychiatry / economics
  • Psychiatry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / economics
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Waiting Lists