Psychiatr Serv 2018 12 28;69(12):1212-1214. Epub 2018 Aug 28.
Dr. Cullen is with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, and the Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.
Show rates for psychiatric outpatient appointments are low among new patients, which affects all patients as well as providers and programs. This column describes two initiatives implemented to address this issue in a community psychiatry program: inpatient referrals and self-referrals. Inpatient referrals were scheduled for an orientation group within five days postdischarge, with initial evaluations within two working days. Biweekly walk-in screening clinics were established for community self-referrals, during which patients were screened and scheduled for an initial evaluation within three working days. Both initiatives significantly increased patient show rates and reduced unused scheduled physician time. Relatively simple initiatives can result in improvements in initial evaluation attendance, benefiting all involved.