Hundreds of Islanders are missing their diagnostic imaging appointments.
There have been about 200 missed appointments each month over the last few months — double the amount that were missed in February and early March of 2020, according to Health P.E.I.
Gailyne MacPherson, the director of diagnostic imaging for Health P.E.I., says the province has been sending text or phone reminders for ultrasounds, MRIs and mammograms through an app called Skip the Waiting Room.
"We are believing that it is getting better and I think just as people get used to it. Like, hair appointments are done by text reminder, you know, esthetician appointments are done that way. Lots of people are using that, as it becomes the mainstream we expect the response will be better."
Most frequent no-shows
General X-ray, ultrasound and mammograms are the most frequently missed appointments.
Why are patients missing their appointments? MacPherson said Health P.E.I. has some theories: some people may be afraid to come to a hospital for testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. A sense of urgency may not always be there for mammograms, she said, if patients are not experiencing symptoms.
"We found out that 25 per cent of the no shows in ultrasound were follow-up breast ultrasound," MacPherson said.
"We know that now this is recent information that has come to light. And so we're going to have to look at, are those first follow up, second follow ups, subsequent follow ups? We don't we don't have all the detail on that data yet."
Health P.E.I. is asking anyone who can't make their appointment to reschedule so it can be given to someone else.