Socio-demographic and Clinical Factors Associated with Defaulting Outpatient Appointments in a Psychiatric Clinic, Malaysia

Lee Wen Jih, Suhailah Zaharudin, Shamala Devi Kerisnan, Chan Mei Ling, Siti Zaharah Gusti Ruslan Noor


Introduction: Management of psychiatric patients had shifted away from custodial care to community based outpatient setting. Defaulting psychiatric outpatient appointments can lead to poor outcome which will increase utilization of healthcare resource.

Aim: The objective of this study is to determine the defaulting rate of psychiatric outpatient clinic and the associated socio-demographic and clinical factors.

Methodology: This is a cross sectional observational study conducted in a psychiatric outpatient clinic in a specialist hospital in Perak, Malaysia. Medical records of 304 patients who were included in the study period were reviewed. The sociodemographic and clinical information were compared between those who had defaulted the follow-ups with those who attended their clinic appointments.

Results: The psychiatry outpatient defaulting rate is 3% (n=9) while the rest attended their appointments (n=295). Factors which were associated with higher odds of defaulting are younger age of less than 40 years old (OR 8.978, p=0.017), patients who are staying alone (OR 6.205, p=0.03) and following up in the clinic for less than 36 months (OR 14.98, p=0.012). In multivariate analysis using logistic regression, patients staying alone is associated with higher odds of defaulting (adjusted OR 4.671, p=0.046).

Conclusion: Identification of associated sociodemographic and clinical factors with defaulting could help the planning of preventive measures especially among the patients who stay alone. 

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Default; Outpatient; Psychiatry Clinic

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