One of the biggest challenges for healthcare organizations is managing patient recalls, efficiently. If you consider that, on average, a 60-minute physician appointment is valued at $200, unused time slots are costing the U.S. healthcare system $150 billion each year – not to mention the impact of care gaps on patient health goals. Having an effective recall strategy is critical to the financial success of a healthcare organization and when done effectively, it can keep your schedule full and generate revenue.
Proactive Engagement is Key to Patient Recall Success
Leaving it up to patients to adhere to treatment guidelines or to be proactive with scheduling preventive screening appointments is risky. Studies show that patients simply don’t plan for these types of appointments in advance. For many patients, their busy schedule prevents them from knowing their availability that far into the future, and inevitably they forget to call and schedule when it’s time for their wellness or preventative care appointment.
Automated recall reminders delivered via automated texts, phone calls and email messages make it easy to reach patients at the right time to schedule future appointments. As mobile device usage continues to increase, healthcare providers are missing the mark if they do not take advantage of automated messaging. This technology allows your staff to communicate with your patients more efficiently, while still providing them with a personalized message from your office.
Here are five tips for creating an effective recall campaign.
1. Proactively Reach Out to Your Patients
Schedule time to actively look for patients who need a recall. If your PMS doesn’t already do this for you, you can also work with your patient engagement solution team to create a workflow that automates the process, sending text messages automatically when patients fail to schedule or miss an appointment. Committing to communicating with these patients will lead to a healthier patient population and can help your health organization reclaim thousands of dollars in potentially lost revenue.
To maximize the effectiveness of a recall communication, identify groups of patients who are overdue for specific care services, such as mammograms, and make the content of the message specific to those patients. Download this Annual Wellness and Preventative Care Calendar for monthly recall campaigns.
2. Always Assume
You’ve heard the saying about why you should never assume. In this case, the opposite is true. In sales, there’s something called the “assumptive close.” Crafting a message with the assumption that the patient simply didn’t have the opportunity to schedule appointment demonstrates your confidence in knowing what’s best for their health. Here’s an example of a proactive, assumptive recall message delivered via SMS:
“Hello, this is Dr. Thompson’s office calling with an important message for Ann. Routine mammograms are critical for detecting breast cancer early. Our records indicate you may need to schedule a mammogram. Please call us call at 855-555-1212 to schedule an appointment. Thank you. To repeat this message, please press 2.”
3. Create a Sense of Urgency
Making patients feel as though their appointment is important gives them a reason to move forward and overcome inertia. Create friendly and inviting messaging that will prompt them to pick up the phone or respond to a text or email. Communications should clearly state what action you wish the patient to take. Here’s an example of an automated recall message that creates a sense of urgency:
“This is a friendly reminder from Hart Health that it is time to receive your annual flu vaccine. This vaccine provides the best protection against hospitalization due to flu. Please call 855-555-1212 to schedule your appointment or to discuss any questions you may have with your provider so that you can stay happy and healthy during the colder months and enjoy more time with friends and family.”
4. Be Persistent
Do you have patients who you haven’t seen in a year or more? You could be sitting on significant recall revenue. Imagine if you contacted 150 inactive patients who then scheduled an appointment for a routine checkup. You could earn more than $18,000 in extra revenue. Sometimes patients fall out of the habit of annual wellness and preventative care. Leverage your care and expertise as a provider to woo patients back to the office.
5. Create a caring connection
A positive patient experience is a critical component of attracting and retaining patients. Unhappy patients are not only more likely to share an unfavorable opinion publicly, then are most likely to seek alternative care. Showing patients that you genuinely care for their well-being establishes trust and makes them more likely to respond to messaging and return for future appointments.
More Patient Engagement Resources
- Click to download the Annual Wellness and Preventative Care Calendar
- Get Patients Back on Track for Colorectal Cancer Screening (intrado.com)
- Tips COVID-19 vaccine outreach for adults and children | Intrado
- 5 Ways Broadcast Boosts Patient Communication | Intrado