The purpose of this study was to measure followup appointment-keeping in patients discharged from a General Medicine Inpatient Service and to identify possible predictors of compliance. Patients were interviewed on hospital admission and all charts were reviewed on discharge. A subset of patients were interviewed by telephone an average of one month after first followup appointment date. The study was conducted in an urban public teaching hospital with hospital-based and community clinics. A convenience sample of 209 patients were selected from admissions to the General Medicine Inpatient Service over a three month period. Followup appointment-keeping was recorded on all 195 patients discharged alive. Seventy-five percent of patients had no medical insurance, public or private. A compliance rate of 60% (95% confidence interval: 53% to 67%) with first followup appointment was found. Variables associated with compliance and which retained independence on multiple logistic regression analysis, followed by adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) were: no copayment requirement, odds ratio 3.2 (1.6 to 6.3), single followup appointment 2.9 (1.4 to 5.9), apartment dwelling 3.2 (1.4 to 7.3) and non-primary care clinic appointment 2.3 (1.1 to 4.8). We conclude that health-care-delivery related factors such as no copayment requirements are strongly associated with appointment-keeping in a public hospital population.
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