13 March 2014

Barquist Army Health Clinic staff want patients to remember that a no-show is not just a missed appointment, but rather two missed appointments: the patient's and their neighbor or colleague's denied appointment slot. (Courtesy photo)
Barquist Asks Patients to Help Combat Rising Trend in Patient No-Shows
By Col. Mitchell E. Brew, Commanding Officer, Barquist Army Health Clinic

Barquist Army Health Clinic staff is asking patients to help reverse a rising trend in missed appointments and late arrivals at its Fort Detrick clinic.

No-show rates at Barquist hovered over 7.3 percent and 7.6 percent in December 2013 and January 2014, respectively. A no-show is defined as an individual who misses or is more than 10 minutes late to an appointment without cancelling or re-scheduling in advance.  The Army’s standard for no-shows is no more than 5 percent.  At Barquist, 53 percent of these no-shows were family members and retirees, and 47 percent comprised Fort Detrick service members.

“When a patient doesn’t show up for an appointment, the doctor loses valuable patient care time while other patients are unable to get seen,” said DeForrest Hunter, Barquist chief of patient administration.

Patient no-shows are costly in terms of dollars and hurt others wanting appointments.   The average appointment value is $93.41, and depending on the care a patient needs, can range from $75-$150.  In 2013, nearly 3,000 patients failed to show up for their appointments. This translates to another 3,000 patients who were denied the opportunity to get an appointment at that time, a decrease in physician productivity, and an estimated loss of $206,249 in care.  Compounding matters, high no-show rates give the Army the impression that more doctors and staff are not needed at Barquist.

While showing up for an appointment on time helps appointment clerks, nursing staff and providers tend to the next patient in a timely manner, appointment clerks try to accommodate late arrivals delayed by unforeseen circumstances.  In addition, staff understands that patients will sometimes need to miss an appointment especially given recent inclement weather conditions.  Barquist asks that patients unable to make an appointment cancel ideally 24 hours in advance, but at least two hours prior to the scheduled appointment time.

“It is easy to cancel an appointment at Barquist Army Health Clinic,” explained Sylvia Young, lead appointment clerk.  “Simply call (301) 619-7175 or toll free (866) 319-8982, or you can cancel by using TRICARE Online.”

As an added time-savings opportunity, Barquist is encouraging patients to use RelayHealth, a secure online portal that allows them to discuss their health with their medical provider. Patients may pick up a registration form at their next visit.

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