During COVID-19, travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines deterred patients from engaging in regular preventative care appointments and screenings. Now that the vaccine has been broadly distributed, healthcare organizations are welcoming patients back to the office. It’s time to get patients back on track to preventative care.
Getting Patients Back to Preventative Care
Keeping in mind that four of ten U.S. adults surveyed by the CDC reported avoiding care due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers have a significant opportunity to help their patients reengage. Part of getting patients back on track requires educating the patient on what they missed and why it is important to schedule their consultation and scheduling appointments.
An automated patient outreach platform is an ideal tool for reaching out to patients with information and education in their preferred communications channel – SMS, email and/or phone. Healthcare organizations can alert patients of eligibility, share answers to frequently asked questions, and provide options for easy scheduling. Delivering messages in multiple channels is a good way to make sure your patients receive the information and schedule their appointment.
Recall Patients for Colorectal Cancer Screening
Here is an example of a patient campaign workflow for improving adherence, compliance and closing gaps in care for colorectal cancer screening. A similar workflow can be used for other preventative care screenings such as mammograms, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, and vaccines and boosters. In each case, the healthcare organization will identify eligibility criteria and define the communications channel flow.
As part of this campaign, the patient receives a series of touchpoints until they schedule an appointment or actively decline. There are six patient messages in this workflow that are delivered via mail, phone, email, and SMS.
1st Round of Outreach
To recall patients 45 years of age and older, who have previously tested negative after using an at-home testing kit, the healthcare system uses both conventional and modern communication channels. Step one in this targeted campaign begins with a mailed postcard and an email.
Sample email message: Dear, <First Name>. Another important step in your health journey may be just around the corner. Three years ago, you screened for colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends screening for colon cancer again three years after a negative result. It may be time to screen again. Please contact our office today at <XXX-XXX-XXXX> to make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your screening options. Sincerely, <Provider or Healthcare Organization Name>
2nd Round of Outreach
The next round of messaging delivers via email and adds either voice call or text – this can be based upon the patient’s preferred communication channel or the healthcare organization’s preference.
Sample voice message: Hello, <Health System or Provider Name> calling for <First Name>. This is an important cancer screening reminder for you. Our records indicate that you are eligible for colorectal cancer screening. The American Cancer Society recommends screening again in three years following a negative test result. Press 1 now to request an at-home screening kit to be prescribed to you by your provider. You will be transferred to our office to discuss and schedule the screening option that’s right for you. Or please press 2 to decline this offer. Thank you!
3rd Round of Outreach
The final message pairing includes one email plus a voice mail or text.
Sample SMS message: <First Name>, Our records indicate you previously screened with an at-home screening kit and may be eligible to be screened again for CRC. Contact our office at 800.555.1212 or respond to this message to request a kit be prescribed to you by your provider. Reply 1 to order the test. Reply 2 to decline the screening.
Engage patients regularly and often to improve care adherence and compliance. Utilizing your unified patient engagement platform, deliver messages via multiple channels to amplify the importance of re-engaging in preventative health screening. And, when possible, provide links that answer common questions and make it easy to request support from the healthcare team.
To learn more about recalling patients for preventative care and screening, click here to download the eBook: Bringing Patients Back to Preventative Care.