Current Issue - 2006, Volume 1 Number 2 & 3


Pdf version



Zailinawati AH, Ng CJ, Nik-Sherina H. Why do patients with chronic illnesses fail to keep their appointments? A telephone interview. Asia Pac J Public Health. 2006;18(1):10-5 [PubMed]

Chronic illnesses are common reasons for encounters in primary care clinic. It requires regular follow-up to monitor disease control and to detect early complications. However, many patients do not adhere to their appointments; this potentially affects their health and reduces the efficiency of the appointment system. A telephone interview survey was conducted in a hospital-based family practice clinic in Kuala Lumpur to identify the reasons of default and the associated factors. The study revealed that 16.7% of the patients failed to turn up for their appointments. Out of 671 patients, 67% were successfully interviewed. Factors associated with default were male gender, Indian ethnicity, patients with coronary artery disease, patients having more than four chronic diseases, and shorter appointment intervals. The main reasons for non-attendance were: forgot the appointment dates (32.9%), not feeling well (12.3%), administrative errors (19.1%) and work or family commitments (8.2%). The majority preferred a reminder through telephone (71.4%) and letters (41.3%). Further studies would be useful to see if reminders reduce the non-attendance rate.

Reprints request: Dr Zailinawati Abu Hassan, Klinik Keluarga, No 2-1, Jalan 1A/ 27A, Section 1, Wangsa Maju, 53000, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Email: