Exploring the factors associated with failure to attend sleep medicine out-patient clinics

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Prasad, P
Sriram, K
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Adelaide, Australia


Introduction/Aim It is estimated that 10‐15% of patients fail to attend (FTA) out‐patient sleep medicine clinic appointments. FTA appointments cause considerable disruption to the provision of quality care to patients but the reasons why patients do not attend appointments are poorly understood. The aim of this audit was to evaluate a cohort of patients who FTA sleep medical out‐patient clinics in our institution to assess factors associated with non‐attendance.

Methods We identified 100 patients who had FTA a sleep medical appointment during the time period of 2016‐2017. Patient demographic and information pertaining to the reason for clinic attendance was gathered from patient electronic medical records.

Results The mean (±SD) age of the patients was 53±16 years. 63% of patients were male. The median (IQR) of distance of patient residential postcode to clinic site was 10 (3‐36) kilometres. Of the 100 appointments, 30% were new clinic appointments and 70% were review appointments. The reasons for clinic appointment were: ongoing management of sleep apnea (69%); evaluation of possible sleep apnea (24%); evaluation of narcolepsy (3%); evaluation of possible parasomnias (2%), insomnia (1%) and respiratory failure (1%). In the electronic medical records, there was no documentation of the reason for the fail‐to‐attend in 93% of patients; 2% of patients had relocated elsewhere; 2% stated that they were unwell and hence could not attend the appointment and 2% stated that they were not interested in attending sleep medical clinics. 27% of patients had previously failed to attend a previous sleep medical out‐patient clinic.

Conclusion In this pilot study we have identified major gaps in knowledge about the process involved in identifying reasons patients' FTA clinics. Considerable research is required to develop innovative approaches to reduce patient clinic FTA rates.

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Prasad, P; Sriram, K, Exploring the factors associated with failure to attend sleep medicine out-patient clinics, Respirology, 2018, 23, pp. 214-214