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GIORNALE ITALIANO DI DERMATOLOGIA E VENEREOLOGIA

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Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2008 December;143(6):353-7

language: English

A telephone survey on the reasons for non-attendance in a dermatological clinic

Cusini M. 1, Auxilia F. 2, Trevisan V. 1, Visconti U. 2, Castaldi S. 2

1 Institute of Dermatological Sciences University of Milan, Milan, Italy IRCCS Foundation Mangiagalli and Regina Elena Policlinic Hospital, Milan, Italy
2 Department of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine University of Milan, Milan, Italy IRCCS Foundation Mangiagalli and Regina Elena Policlinic Hospital, Milan, Italy


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Aim. Long waiting time before obtain medical attention is a significant problem that affects all specialities and especially dermatology, where a quick observation is required because of the rapid mutation of skin lesions pattern. Non-attendance (NA) is one of the aspects that is most involved in the length of waiting lists. The aim of this study was to investigate the different reasons for NA in the dermatological clinic as to improve the booking system and allow patients to be visited in a shorter time.
Methods. All the patients who failed to attend a visit, booked in the dermatological service during a two months period, were contacted by telephone to determine the reasons for having missed the appointment. For each patient details as age, sex, kind of visit (initial visit, follow-up visit or visit with priority level) and type of clinic (general dermatology, second level dermatology or paediatric dermatology) were collected and analyzed.
Results. The overall NA rate was 11.19% and different reasons for NA were found, namely forgetfulness of the appointment, work-related problems and concomitant illness.
Conclusion. The most frequent reason for NA is forgetfulness of the appointment and it could be explained by the long time elapsing between booking and visit. Different techniques to reduce forgetfulness have been suggested; in our case the use of a unique call centre that coordinates booking for all the health structures in Milan and the sending of a reminder mobile message have led to good results with a NA rate lower than in other studies.

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