How can you ensure you apply patient recall and patients re-book follow up appointments?
Who is responsible for ensuring a patient rebooks their appointment and doesn’t get added to patient recall lag? We are all about patient empowerment, and consumers managing their health, however, the practitioner should still do what they can to enable their patients to experience the best outcome from the service they are provided, to avoid having them added to a patient recall lag of treatment from the practice.
A practice that regularly communicates with their clients, in a way that is easily understood and received will ideally have a patient recall lag of zero.
Having no recall lag means that every patient responds to their recall, and attends their scheduled follow-up appointment without delay. Perfect, right? But the reality is that it can take months for practices to communicate with their patients, and patients to respond to the practice, or in some cases, no communication takes place at all between the patient and practice! Therefore, patients may wait months before they book their check-up again, if they book it at all, impacting their long term outcome success.
Practices are busy, and sometimes there are so many tasks to be completed, that communication with patients may slide further and further down the to-do list. Prioritising patient health outcomes is essential, however, your business performance and patient recall drive revenue. Can practice really afford to neglect patient recall if it will affect the monthly revenue?
Statistically, every month of recall lag is a 13% drop in patient recall revenue.
So how can you ensure your patient recall lag remains at zero?
- Better communications: communicating regularly with patients and ensuring contact is easy for them
- Scheduling and pre-booking appointments: effective recalls increasing the number of bookings, which ultimately drives monthly practice revenue.
- Planning: Set up a process, regularly review and adjust when needed
Here are 5 key ways to minimise recall lag
1. Schedule recall dates for each of your patient
Each patient should have a set recall date. This means that whenever a patient’s recall is completed, another recall should be scheduled for a later date. This will also stagger your recalls, so your admin team isn’t juggling ‘batches’ of appointment reminders alongside customer service tasks.
With this simple procedure in place, patients won’t get lost in the system – and you increase the chance of contacting them at the right time!
2. Pre-book your patients
The best time to book a patient is when they’re leaving their appointment. Ensure your front desk team are always scheduling a follow-up with your patient after their appointment.
3. Make it easy for patients to respond and book
This means allowing patients to respond to your recalls via text message and email. Online booking is also a huge indicator of recall effectiveness, as patients are increasingly seeking health services online.
By making it as convenient as possible to get in touch, your practice will receive more positive responses to patient recalls!
4. Have a structured patient recall process
Bring your team together and create an integrated recall process for every staff member to follow. Embedding this in your practice management ensures consistency, and your whole team will understand the importance of recalls!
5. Use multiple communication methods
This is crucial to increasing recall effectiveness. Research has shown that patients are far more likely to respond to three types of appointment reminders – such as a letter, a text message or email, and a phone call.
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