Impact of prescription patterns on compliance with follow-up visits at an urban teaching primary care continuity clinic

Atsushi Sorita, Tomohiro Funakoshi, Glenn Kashan, Edwin R. Young, Jayson Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although limiting prescription refills is considered as a strategy to increase compliance with the treatment regimen and follow-up, no literature exists to support its effectiveness. We sought to investigate whether decreasing the number of prescription refills affects no-show rate at an urban teaching primary care continuity clinic in New York. Methods: Eight teaching attending physicians and 19 residents implemented a “new prescribing strategy” from February 9 to 22, 2012, which limited the number of refills only to cover until the next intended clinic visit. All adult patient visits were included if follow-up visits were requested to be scheduled within 3 months and prescriptions were given through an electronic prescription system. No-show rates for the first follow-up visits up to 120 days from the initial visits during the interventional period were compared with those during the baseline period (December 15-28, 2011). Results: Two hundred twenty-one patients in the baseline period and 278 in the interventional period were included in the analysis. Median total supply of prescription was 6 and 3 months, respectively (P < .001). The no-show rates were not significantly different between the 2 periods (19.0% [42/221] vs 16.6% [46/278], P = .5). In multivariate regression analysis, the no-show rate did not change significantly during the interventional period compared with the baseline period (odds ratio [OR] 1.0; 95% confidence interval, 0.6-1.5; P = .8). Younger age (OR 1.03 per year, P = .008), male gender (OR 2.0, P = .003), Medicaid or Medicare insurance (OR 3.7, P = .01; OR 4.2, P = .02), and diagnosis of diabetes (OR 1.8, P = .04) or asthma (OR 2.0, P = .03) were associated with higher no-show rates. Conclusions: Reducing the number of refills did not significantly affect no-show rates in the immediate follow-up. Alternative strategies should be considered to minimize no-shows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-193
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • No-show
  • Outpatient
  • Prescription pattern
  • Teaching continuity clinic


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