A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Outpatient clinics, as well as private practices, have a weak link, namely the problem of appointment breaking. The weakness of this link can be crucial in cases where a return appointment is vital to the patient's health.
In a larger view, appointment breaking is a symptom of inadequate follow-through on medical care. Included in this is failure of the mother to understand recommended treatment, or failure to follow directions.
Within a teaching framework, where broken appointments create problems in planning a comprehensive program, various remedies have been tried. The hospital management has focused attention on efficient utilization of outpatient facilities by revising appointment systems and providing more pleasant physical surroundings.1,2 Medical educators are attempting to teach students communication skills that will improve relationships between doctor and patient.3,4 Recently, research has been directed toward identifying those who break appointments