By Sondra Brown, Tripler Army Medical Center Public AffairsAugust 13, 2013
The recent rate of No Shows in MTF's are at an average of 5.78% and have reached as high as 9.01%. According to PRMC, a "No Show" is defined as an individual (Soldier, Retiree, Family Member) who misses or is late to an appointment without canceling or rescheduling, and can negatively affect patient care, future appointment setting and continuity of care. According to PRMC, "When a patient misses an appointment without cancelling, they also keep another patient from using that appointment slot".
Patients may perceive their healthcare as "an Army benefit and free", however it important to remember the "monetary value of appointments" - whether in Army resources or staff time. Ensure you aren't a No Show in the future by keeping the following in mind:
Showing up for scheduled appointments saves time and resources. Cancel properly, and in a timely manner, if you are unable to attend, and allow physicians to schedule other patients during the time slot you were unable to meet. PRMC claims "PCM are able to make the best use of their time and skills when patients show up for their appointments on time".
No Shows negatively affect continuity of care - "if a patient fails to show up for their appointment on time, they may experience continued or undiagnosed health problems".
An appointment missed by you is an appointment missed by two. According to PRMC, being a No Show may prevent "other Soldiers and Family Members from being able to use your appointment slot to receive needed care".
No Shows affect Soldier Readiness. PRMC urges patients to remember, "Attending medical appointments allows providers to maintain continuity of care; treat Soldiers properly; and keep them ready for the fight". Making appointments on time is another way to support fellow Soldiers.
Remember: take the time to appropriately cancel an appointment if necessary. According to PRMC, "Automated reminder calls are made to the patient up to two days before the appointment. At the time of the reminder call, an option is given to confirm or cancel the appointment". Patients are urged to utilize this option, or Tricare online if the appointment was booked online, if they need to cancel an appointment.
Soldiers, Retirees and Family Members can ensure a positive healthcare experience for one another and improve their MTF and the Army healthcare system by meeting appointment times. Don't be the next No Show at your MTF - an appointment missed by you is an appointment missed by two.