OPEN Research Support

Jette Ammentorp
Centre for Research in Patient Communication (CFPK), Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Open
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.01.2023  
Slut 31.12.2026  

'Non-attendant or not invited?' - a cross-disciplinary study about why healthcare appointments fail and how this can be prevented.

Short summary

This project attempts to close the existing gap by addressing the 'problem with non-attendance' and the intervention efforts holistically. We will contribute with new insight by involving the patient perspective and analysing the relational and organizational processes around non-attendance in Health Care. Unlike previous studies, this project rests on the idea that 1) 'non-attendance' is a complex problem: it entails societal and communicative challenges that are tied to relational, sociocultur


Approximately one third of patient appointments in Health Care does not suceed. . 'Non-attendance' (i.e. apppointments that do not suceed) increases the risk of patient errors, and may seriously complicate patient treatment and continuity of care. Futhermore it is expensive due to the large waste of resources that they entail a common understanding among policymakers, administrators and health professionals in the Danish Health Care system is that 'non-attendance' is a problem caused by patients. Most interventions therefore target the patients: introduction of online appointment systems, reminders by SMS, reminder letter, etc.

Description of the cohort

The study population of this project comprises all patients who are residents in the Region of Southern Denmark, and who were referred with at least one contact to a hospital in the period of 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2022. Patients who do not turn up for an appointment due to death or immigration will be excluded from the study population.

Data and biological material

The project is designed as a close interplay between research methods from clinical epidemiology anthropology, cognitive science, humanistic interaction research, healthcare communication and implementation science. To describe the patient population and the pattern of non-attendance, we will retrieve a series of information including age, gender, diagnostic codes for hospital contact, the patient's weight, and height, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and information on planned and performed hospital examinations and treatments. Information on non-attendance will be retrieved from the electronic patient record system (EPJ). Information on planned and performed examinations are to be applied as explanatory background variables. This information will be retrieved from the EPJ system. Information from the Danish central registries for all patients in the study population will be used to retrieve information on the civil and vital status of the patients, and on immigration and emigration from the civil registration system. Furthermore, we will retrieve information on all previous hospital contacts from the Danish National Patient Registry, and on prescriptions from the Register of Medicinal Product Statistics. The central registers from Statistics Denmark can be a tool for retrieving information on the patients' socioeconomic status and additional background variables

Collaborating researchers and departments

Immigrant Medicine Clinic, OUH

  • Morten Sodemann

Center for Clinic Epidemiology, OUH/SDU

  • Bente Mertz Nørgård
  • Maria Iachina

Center for Research in Patient Communication / Centre Human Interactivity, SDU

  • Daria Schwalbe