The process of outlining a framework for your patient recall process may seem daunting. There are several ways to handle the situation, such as what technology to use, how to appropriately schedule in advance, and managing new circumstances caused by the Coronavirus. While figuring out how to model your recall strategy can be stressful, knowing how to properly implement it can be just as difficult. Below are several ways you and your practice can begin to effectively use your recall strategy.
Booking during the appointment
It seems like common knowledge, but one of the easiest ways to ensure the ability to recall your patients is simply through scheduling during their appointment. Every doctor needs to know when their patients next visit is scheduled for. IF a patient has come in for a routine check-up or screening, schedule their next appointment before they leave the exam room.
This removes the risk of you, your staff, or your patient forgetting to set up their next visit. IT also allows you to keep a clean and organized schedule without the risk of having to shuffle patients at a later date.
Be open to adjusting hours
Like physicians, patients also have hectic lives and schedules that may not allow them to easily squeeze an appointment into their calendars. In response, physicians should be open to providing weekend and after-hours appointments. The ability to be flexible creates a good impression and can improve relationships with patients.
Adversely, should a patient have the feeling that a physician is unable or unwilling to potentially find time for treatment that fits their schedule, they may opt to look elsewhere for another provider. As physicians, you aim to provide high quality care. Patients are looking for high-quality care that fits into their schedules.
Stay in touch
Another common-sense option is to stay in contact with your patients. This can be done in a variety of ways and across many platforms. You may opt for traditional mail on practice letterhead, or an email, a phone call, or even mobile notifications.
The key for staying in touch is consistency and language. When creating recall letters (such as in a mailed letter or email) use the patient’s name several times to create a feeling of trust. For established patients, this will reinforce the feeling of security they have with your practice. Create a sense of urgency through wording to explain why they should not begin to (or keep) delaying their next visit to your practice. For email exchanges and mobile notifications, create a call-to-action (CTA) to entice patients to schedule their appointment at that moment. Common CTA’s include “Call now”, “Schedule your appointment today”, or “schedule now” with a link to a scheduling portal.
Finally, don’t cross the line from staying in touch to overloading the patient. Emails and calls sent to closely will begin to create the idea of spam in the minds of patients, making them less likely to schedule their visit or follow-up at all.
Utilize your staff
While having the right technology to recall patients is important, so is having enough staff trained in how to properly operate them. The more staff that is trained in how to correctly utilize recall technology the better. This will relieve stress by distributing the workload evenly. Once trained, it is important to ensure that the work-flow remains organized. This will prevent duplicate or missing work.
For more information on recall strategy and technology, please visit the PE GI Solutions Patient Recall toolkit.