Aims Non-attendance of patients for clinic appointments is a significant problem within the healthcare system. The effect of non-attendance leads to poor utilisation of clinic time, a reduction in the overall management of the patient and a wider issue of incurring cost to the NHS.1 The aim of this study is to identify whether implementing a sticker reminder system can reduce the non-attendance rate within the general paediatric clinic.
Methods A sticker reminder system was implemented from December 2010 to July 2011 in the general paediatric clinic (New and Review clinics). During the clinic if a follow-up appointment was offered a sticker was given to the patient (or parents) with the date and time of the follow-up appointment. The patients who had received stickers were recorded on the clinic lists. A retrospective analysis of patients' activity via the computer system (CDA) was commenced in November to identify the proportion of patients who had attended their follow-up appointment.
Results The non-attendance rate was 9.23% for all patients who had been given stickers (total of 65 patients), calculated for the period between December 2010 and July 2011 (excluding 2 patients who were not given stickers and 4 whose appointments were in the future).
The control non-attendance rate was 18.4%, which was calculated from follow-up clinics in December 2009 to July 2010. There was found to be a significant difference (p<0.05) between the intervention group and the non-intervention group (χ2 = 4.05).
Conclusion The sticker implementation significantly improved attendance rates in the general paediatric clinic. This is a simple and non-expensive intervention which will be easy to implement on a wider scale. It is hoped that by reducing the non-attendance rates throughout the trust it will improve the overall management of the patient and on a wider scale reduce the cost to the NHS.