Appointment attendance at a remote rural dental training facility in Australia
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Background Non-attended appointments have impacts on the operations of dental clinics. These impacts vary from lost productivity, loss of income and loss of clinical teaching hours. Methods Appointment data were analysed to assess the percentage of completed, failed to attend (FTA) and cancelled appointments at an Australian remote rural student dental clinic training facility. The demographic and time characteristics of FTA and cancelled appointments were analysed using simple and multivariate multinomial regression analysis, to inform interventions that may be necessary. Results Over the 2-year study period a total of 3,042 appointments were made. The percentage of FTA was 21.3% (N?=?648) and cancelled appointments 13.7% (N?=?418). The odds of an FTA were in excess of 4 times higher in patients aged 19-25 years (OR?=?4.1; 95% CI?=?2.3-7.3) and 26-35 years (OR?=?4.4; 95% CI?=?2.5-7.9) compared to patients 65 years and older. The odds of an FTA was 2.3 (95% CI?=?1.8-3.1) times higher in public patients compared to private patients. The odds of a cancellation was 1.7 (95% CI?=?1.1-2.6) times higher on a Friday compared to a Monday and 1.8 (95% CI?=?1.1-2.9) times higher on the last appointment of the day compared to the first appointment. For cancelled appointments, 71.3% were cancelled on the day of the appointment and 16.6% on the day before. Conclusions Non-attended appointments (FTA or cancelled) were common at this remote rural dental clinic training facility. Efforts to reduce these need to be implemented; including telephonic reminders, educating the community on the importance of attending their appointments, block booking school children and double booking or arranging alternative activities for the students at times when non-attendance is common.
BMC Oral Health
© 2013 Lalloo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Page numbers are not for citation purposes. Instead, this article has the unique article number of 36.
Dentistry not elsewhere classified