Mutual Matters

Who’s responsible for patient compliance and follow-up?

Posted by Georgette Samaritan, RN, BSN, CPHRM on Jul 28, 2016 1:30:00 PM

With patient “no-show” rates estimated to be between 5 and 55 percent, doctors are struggling to provide adequate patient follow-up care. Physicians have asked questions like, “What’s my liability when patients miss scheduled appointments and / or do not comply with their plan of care?” 

shutterstock_317578829_-_patient_with_doctor.jpgMissed appointments and patients’ failures to follow up, do create potential liability risks for their physicians. Physicians may take the following actions to improve follow-up visit compliance now:

  1. Make reminder calls – Patients are busy too, and timely reminders do help patients remember and keep appointments. You may want to explore using an automated appointment reminder system if you currently aren’t using one.
  1. Reduce wait times – Maintaining reasonable patient wait times continues to be a universal challenge; when wait times are excessive, they become a major source of patient dissatisfaction. Reduced wait times leave a better impression on patients; shows respect for their time; and may increase the probability the patient will return for follow-up appointments.
  1. Create a welcoming reception area while protecting the patient’s privacy, particularly at intake. 
  1. Let patients know how long their wait times may have been extended and give them the option of rescheduling or coming back at a later time.


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As one of the leading mutual providers of Medical Professional Liability insurance, we're here to help all healthcare professionals with the challenges they face on a daily basis. The topics we cover include: 

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