The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

THE IMPACT OF A REMINDER PHONE CALL ON NO-SHOW RATES OF PATIENTS SCHEDULED FOR PULMONARY FUNCTION TESTING.

Bonnie Gehlert, Cheryl A. Hoerr, Carrie Byrd, Pandee Goodson, Amelia Payne-Rulo; Respiratory Therapy, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, Rolla, MO

BACKGROUND: Outpatients scheduled for pulmonary function testing (PFT) are surveyed to determine satisfaction and to help pinpoint areas in need of improvement. In 2010 we experienced a significant decrease in patient satisfaction with the ease of getting an appointment. Sixteen appointments were available every week which was considered sufficient for a department doing 45-50 studies per month. The purpose of this project was to determine the cause behind the dissatisfaction and to develop/implement a solution which would improve patient satisfaction scores. METHOD: A work group consisting of the PFT staff and a representative from department management was convened to study the issue and propose solutions. Adding an additional day of testing was considered but was not the group’s first choice as it would increase the department’s salary expenses. During analysis the work group found that the no-show rate for scheduled patients was between 20% - 25% (Range: 7% - 33%); the no-shows were blocking appointment times that could have been available for other patients. The work group collaborated with Volunteer Services to develop a process for a reminder phone call to patients the day before their appointment. A script was developed and approved by Legal Services. Volunteer Services receives a listing of scheduled patients with their contact information from the Respiratory Department the day before the appointments are scheduled and calls to remind patients of their appointment. RESULTS: The no-show rate has dropped from 25% to 12%, a 50% decrease in no-show rates. Patient satisfaction scores have shown themselves to be inversely related to no-show rates: as no-show rates have decreased, patient satisfaction scores with ease of getting an appointment have increased. Additionally we estimated a salary expense savings of approximately $85/month as a result of eliminating non-productive time spent waiting for patients who never showed up for their appointment. CONCLUSION: Reminder phone calls to outpatients scheduled for Pulmonary Function Testing decreases no-show rates, increases patient satisfaction, and reduces non-productive therapist time. Sponsored Research - None