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QUALITY IMPROVEMENT IN ACTION
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 16-20

Reengineering the communication process to reduce patient no-show rates in hospital outpatient clinics


1 Quality and Patient Safety, Ministry of the National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Pediatrics, College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Ministry of the National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Health Systems Management, College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Ministry of the National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UK

Correspondence Address:
Mastourah D Al Shammari
Department of Quality and Patient Safety, Ministry of the National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JQSH.JQSH_17_18

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Background: Patient “no-shows” cause significant concern for healthcare organizations as it affects continuity of care provided to the patient, quality of care, waiting times for new patients, and wastes clinic resources. This project aimed to reduce the rate of no-shows in a general pediatric clinic to less than 10% to be consistent with the international benchmark range of 5%–10% of primary care clinics. Materials and Methods: A multidisciplinary team was formed to address the rate of no-shows using a quality improvement–driven approach in August 2017. Retrospective data analysis showed that 33% of patients who were referred to the general pediatric clinic at King Abdullah Specialist Children Hospital did not show up for their appointments in March 2017. Results: The impact of reengineering the patients’ appointment communication process led to a noticeable reduction in the rate of no-shows in the general pediatric clinic, reaching 14% in 1 month (November to December 2017) compared with the baseline of 33%. Data analysis for the post-intervention period showed a progressive decline in the no-show rate, reaching below 10% in the general pediatric clinic, indicating a big shift in the rate of no-shows among the patients attending the general pediatric clinic. Conclusion: Reengineering the communication process and increasing awareness to update contact information are effective strategies for improving communication with patients and reducing the rate of no-shows for scheduled appointments. The next step is to share project findings with healthcare workers and leaders to sustain the improvement.


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