A weekday intervention to reduce missed appointments

David A. Ellis, Jet G. Sanders, Rob Jenkins, Linda McAuslan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The burden of missed healthcare appointments is so great that even small reductions in Did Not Attend (DNA) rate can secure tangible benefits. Previous studies have identified demographic factors that predict DNA rate. However, it is not obvious that these insights can be used to improve attendance, as healthcare providers do not control patient demographics. One factor that providers do control is appointment scheduling. We previously reported that appointments at the beginning of the week are more likely to be missed than appointments at the end of the week. This observation suggests a simple intervention to reduce DNA rate: schedule appointments for later in the week. Using data from a UK mental health hospital, we compared attendance rates for 12-months before and 12-months after the intervention began (916 appointments in total). Overall DNA rate fell from 34.2% pre-intervention to 23.4% post-intervention [χ2 (1, N = 916) = 13.01, p < 0.001; Relative Risk Reduction, 31.6%]. This effect was carried mainly by female patients, for whom more appointments could be moved to later in the week. Our findings confirm that DNA rate can be significantly reduced by loading appointments onto high-attendance days.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0274670
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9 September
Early online date29 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2022


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