Reducing missed hospital appointments (Australia)

  • 2014

Missed appointments, also called ’did not attends’ (DNAs), impose a significant financial burden on hospitals.


The principle of salience can be used to draw people’s attention to what is new and/or seems relevant.

Many people do not appreciate the true financial and social impacts of missed appointments. Making information on the cost of missed appointments to a hospital more salient could reduced the number of DNAs.


We analysed data from a Sydney hospital to identify likely non-attenders and designed messages that would resonate with them, based on insights from work in the UK.

Result & Impact

We found that hospitals can reduce the number of DNAs and save AUS$66,000 per year through messaging indicating that attending appointments leads to the hospital or hospital patients ‘avoiding a loss’.