Indexed on: 26 May '10Published on: 26 May '10Published in: International journal of STD & AIDS
Patients who do not attend (DNA) clinic appointments are wasteful of resources and may also pose a potential public health risk through the onward transmission of untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This service evaluation was performed to assess the demographics of DNAs, patient reasons for non-attendance and follows up data to determine the health outcomes of non-attendance. The genitourinary (GU) medicine clinic DNA rate between October 2008 and March 2009 was 6% (383/6961). Of the 383 patients who DNA'd their appointment successful telephone contact was made in 182 (48%) of them. Of these 40% of patients reported that they had forgotten they held an appointment; no patients reported that clinic opening hours prevented their attendance. Telephone contact increased GU medicine clinic attendance by 9% (35/383), but led to a greater number of subsequent DNAs; 43/75 (63%) of patients who accepted a further appointment DNA'd that appointment. Sending a SMS text message to patients who DNA notifying them of the time of walk-in services might be the most effective way of recapturing these patients without compromising future clinic appointment slots.