DOI: 10.1177/1357633x231216501 ISSN: 1357-633X

Attendance at remote versus in-person outpatient appointments in an NHS Trust

Gabriele Kerr, Geva Greenfield, Benedict Hayhoe, Fiona Gaughran, Kristoffer Halvorsrud, Mariana Pinto da Costa, Nirandeep Rehill, Rosalind Raine, Azeem Majeed, Ceire Costelloe, Ana Luisa Neves, Thomas Beaney
  • Health Informatics


With the growing use of remote appointments within the National Health Service, there is a need to understand potential barriers of access to care for some patients. In this observational study, we examined missed appointments rates, comparing remote and in-person appointments among different patient groups.


We analysed adult outpatient appointments at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in Northwest London in 2021. Rates of missed appointments per patient were compared between remote versus in-person appointments using negative binomial regression models. Models were stratified by appointment type (first or a follow-up).


There were 874,659 outpatient appointments for 189,882 patients, 29.5% of whom missed at least one appointment. Missed rates were 12.5% for remote first appointments and 9.2% for in-person first appointments. Remote and in-person follow-up appointments were missed at similar rates (10.4% and 10.7%, respectively). For remote and in-person appointments, younger patients, residents of more deprived areas, and patients of Black, Mixed and ‘other’ ethnicities missed more appointments. Male patients missed more in-person appointments, particularly at younger ages, but gender differences were minimal for remote appointments. Patients with long-term conditions (LTCs) missed more first appointments, whether in-person or remote. In follow-up appointments, patients with LTCs missed more in-person appointments but fewer remote appointments.


Remote first appointments were missed more often than in-person first appointments, follow-up appointments had similar attendance rates for both modalities. Sociodemographic differences in outpatient appointment attendance were largely similar between in-person and remote appointments, indicating no widening of inequalities in attendance due to appointment modality.

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