2013-12-13 / Front Page

Missed medical appointments, late cancellations hurt others

By Kathleen Haskell

Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center averages more than 4,600 per week of missed appointments or late appointments that were not cancelled or rescheduled.

These no-show appointments result in wasted financial and staff resources as well as a missed opportunity to provide care for other patients.

In fiscal year 2013, DDEAMC had 55,524 patients who did not show up for scheduled appointments or cancelled less than 24-hours before their appointment. As a result, available appointments were not being rescheduled.

The unused appointments inhibited many patients from getting to see their physician in a timely manner and cost DDEAMC more than $4.7 million in funding.

Patients are partners in heath and having available patient appointments at DDEAMC is important. The only way to ensure access to services is for patients to know that missing or not cancelling an appointment affects everyone.

No- shows also have a tremendous affect on clinic activities, which can prevent patients from getting appointments.

If unable to keep a scheduled appointment, call, reschedule, or cancel. By taking these steps, it helps the medical center open thousands of appointments for other people.

The steps to canceling an appointment are simple and convenient. The Central Appointment System may be accessed 24 hours a day and seven days a week at (706)787-7300. After opening instruction, the options are:

Press 1: to make an appointment

Press 2: to cancel an existing appointment

Press 3: to leave a message for your provider or request renewal of a prescription

Press 4: for a provider referral to a civilian provider (outside the network area)

Press 5: for a problem that needs to be addressed today

Press 6: for Tricare assistance

Press 0: for Operator assistance

It is critical for patients to cancel appointments early to ensure DDEAMC can use appointment times to provide other patients with medical care. The 55,524 unused appointments would have helped to improve access for care and patient satisfaction.

Minimizing no-show and late cancellation appointments for primary and specialty care clinics at DDEAMC helps open access for other patients to improve funding for better service.

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