Increasing the follow-up rate of patients requiring emergency high-consequence treatment

Improving poorer populations’ chances of getting necessary care

The challenge

A low attendance rate for urgent, high-consequence treatment is prevalent in the developing world. In poorer countries, ignorance about the illnesses people have, allied to the financial costs of attending for treatment, are two of the main reasons why they fail to show up for medical appointments. Yet, for many diseases, patients may need surgical treatment soon after diagnosis to prevent severe disability. This project aims to identify ways to increase the attendance rate of patients who need emergency high-consequence treatment.

The intervention

Traditionally, in care systems across the world, information about why patients must undergo a particular treatment or care plan is communicated by emphasising medical aspects of the disease, typically in scientific terms. This research, in contrast, analyses the effect of providing emotionally engaging information about how a patient’s life experience can be changed by their medical condition. The study runs a two-stage, randomised controlled trial at the world’s largest eye hospital, the Aravind Eye Hospital in India.

The Impact

Although this paper focuses on urgent high-consequence care contexts in the developing world, poorer patients in both developing and developed countries are less likely to show up for medical appointments for both urgent and non-urgent care. This study hopes to improve the chances of poorer populations receiving the care they need and to help reduce needless blindness. Furthermore, it hopes to inspire other healthcare providers globally to adopt the proposed methods.


Kamalini Ramdas, Professor of Management Science and Operations, London Business School

Nazli Sönmez, is an Assistant Professor at Bilkent University and former PhD student in Management Science and Operations at London Business School. Nazli’s research interests are in healthcare operations and green supply-chain management.

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