Predictors of failed attendances in a multi-specialty outpatient centre using electronic databases

Vernon J. Lee, Arul Earnest, Mark I. Chen, Bala Krishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Failure to keep outpatient medical appointments results in inefficiencies and costs. The objective of this study is to show the factors in an existing electronic database that affect failed appointments and to develop a predictive probability model to increase the effectiveness of interventions. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on outpatient clinic attendances at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore from 2000 to 2004. 22864 patients were randomly sampled for analysis. The outcome measure was failed outpatient appointments according to each patient's latest appointment. Results: Failures comprised of 21% of all appointments and 39% when using the patients' latest appointment. Using odds ratios from the mutliple logistic regression analysis, age group (0.75 to 0.84 for groups above 40 years compared to below 20 years), race (1.48 for Malays, 1.61 for Indians compared to Chinese), days from scheduling to appointment (2.38 for more than 21 days compared to less than 7 days), previous failed appointments (1.79 for more than 60% failures and 4.38 for no previous appointments, compared with less than 20% failures), provision of cell phone number (0.10 for providing numbers compared to otherwise) and distance from hospital (1.14 for more than 14 km compared to less than 6 km) were significantly associated with failed appointments. The predicted probability model's diagnostic accuracy to predict failures is more than 80%. Conclusion: A few key variables have shown to adequately account for and predict failed appointments using existing electronic databases. These can be used to develop integrative technological solutions in the outpatient clinic.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

Cite this