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The Impact of Missed Medical Appointments

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kris Walker
  • 6th Medical Group

The 6th Medical Group strives to provide our beneficiaries with access to the timely, high-quality health care they deserve. In addition to conducting monthly staff training, we consistently review performance standards in an effort to identify gaps and ensure that patient needs are being met. However, as we work to improve our patients’ experience, one area continues to present a challenge – reducing the number of missed appointments.


The negative impacts of missed, or “no-show” appointments are numerous. They include, but are not limited to:


1. Reduced appointment availability – results in lengthier wait times for patients who need to be seen much sooner.


2. Delays in medical care – prevents patients from receiving the treatment recommended by their provider; reduces continuity of care.


3. Adverse effects on mission readiness – delayed care can result in potentially late identification and treatment of other health issues, hindering deployment readiness.


4. Inefficient use of government resources – medical staff lose valuable time and must scramble to fill the vacant slot.


Over the past six months, the main treatment facility and Sabal Park clinic have averaged a combined 706 missed appointments each month - this equates to lost availability for nearly two providers a day over that time period, exerts a strain on the system, and prolongs booking and waiting time for other patients.


While they may never be fully eliminated, there are many ways in which our beneficiaries can assist us in reducing the number of missed appointments:


1. Ensure contact information stays updated in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) – the automated appointment reminder system uses listed phone numbers to contact our patients in advance of an appointment.


2. Sign up for TRICARE online at – this will enable you to both schedule and cancel most appointment types, as well as send reminder notices to your mobile device.


3. If you are unable to make an appointment, contact the central appointment line at (813) 827-2273, as soon as you are aware but no less than two hours prior, giving the clinic an opportunity to provide that time slot to another patient.


The 6th Medical Group staff is dedicated to delivering the best health care possible. With the help of our beneficiaries, together we can ensure convenient access to appointments, while improving provider continuity and overall patient satisfaction.