Monday, September 27, 2010

Appointment 'No Shows' Continue to Challenge Hospital

Showing up late or not showing up at all for medical appointments is an ongoing challenge for Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms in trying to manage a productive clinic schedule and serve our population.

The hospital is not a walk in clinic. The clinics are run on an appointment basis, and they try to stay on schedule.

According to the hospital’s latest figures, in August there were 825 ‘no shows’ for appointments at the hospital.

These 825 appointment slots were productively used; however it could keep 825 potential beneficiaries from receiving treatment in a timely manner. Maybe more importantly, these missed appointments could mean that some Marines or Sailors may not be 100 percent ready for deployment because they may need glasses or have an undiagnosed medical issue, leading to a serious problem for the member and their command.

Occasional emergencies arise, or a procedure takes longer than anticipated which delays some appointments. However, over the years, it has been shown that when patients are kept waiting beyond their appointed time, it is usually because a previous patient showed up late. If this happens the clinics can see the late patient and keep everyone after them waiting, rush through the appointment (which we will not do), or reschedule the appointment for another time.

If late for an appointment, the hospital clinics will see you if the schedule permits and it does not inconvenience other patients. If the providers feel that seeing you late will cause an inconvenience for other patients, then you will be asked to reschedule.

If unable to keep an appointment, please give the hospital as much notice as possible. This is in consideration of the hospital staff that will attempt to fill the appointment slot with another patient.

Here are some tips that will help you become more punctual; Give yourself extra time, just in case you are delayed by weather, traffic or other circumstances. Keep only one planner; carry it between your home, workplace, or daily appointments. Use a watch, or an electronic organizer with a beeper to provide you with reminders.

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