We can all agree that every dental, vision, and healthcare practice needs a rockin’ recall system to get patients back in for care and to keep your schedule full. But, can we agree on the best way to do that? In our experience working with thousands of optometrists, dentists, and healthcare professionals over the years, the short answer is a resounding NO.
Many times, we see practice managers and office staff cringe at the mere mention of a patient recall system. It’s no question that recall is vital to the success of your practice, but how to go about it most effectively is the dilemma we encounter most often.
Practices like yours want to know:
- Which team member is responsible for patient recall?
- How do we find time in our busy schedule to establish an effective recall system?
- Do we send out a patient recall letter or postcard by mail, old-school style?
- Is it best to create a list and manually call every single patient to remind them it’s time for an annual checkup or a follow-up treatment? (Does anyone in your office actually have time to do that?)
- Do we rely on patient recall software that automatically contacts patients via text or email?
- If we do use an automated recall system, does our team understand and know how to use it?
These are loaded questions that can certainly be intimidating. Recall is often pushed aside because you’re already too busy taking care of patients who are on your schedule, making sure they show up and have a positive experience in the office.
Recall doesn’t have to be the dreaded task that nobody wants to do. It can – and should – be a simple, automated process that runs behind the scenes and doesn’t take away from the time you need to focus on providing the best patient experience. In fact, you could be spending about 30 minutes a day on recall activities that keep your schedule full.
Here are three steps you can take to start making your recall program work for you, without adding extra work for your team.
- Identify patients who need to get back in for care.
You don’t want to call every single patient chart, starting with people whose last name begins with A. That’s simply not the best use of your staff’s time. Instead, identify patients who need follow-up treatments or preventive care.
Use your EHR to run reports that identify patients for recall based on their insurance plans. Additionally, identify patients who are most overdue for treatment, in the highest health risk category, or have a specific diagnosis. Once you’ve created groups of patients, you can personalize their recall messages based on this information.
- Contact patients with purpose and make it personal.
Personalized, purposeful recall messages are the ones that are most effective in getting patients to schedule appointments. Consider sending an email or text that says something like, “Hi Jessica, we’ve missed you! It’s time to schedule your [cleaning, X-rays, annual exam]. Give us a call, reply to this [email, text] or click this link to request an appointment online that fits with your busy schedule.”
A personalized, specific message lets patients know you care about their health and well-being, and gently reminds them that they need to schedule that exam or treatment they’ve been putting off, or simply forgot about.
- Focus on your patients’ health.
While recall messages are a great way to generate more revenue for your practice, the message you send to patients should be focused on their health. Remind your team that when you contact patients for follow-up care, you’re providing them the opportunity to stay as healthy as possible. Without recare – especially those necessary treatments or preventive screenings – you are doing a disservice to your patients. When you focus on their health and wellness, you remind them that’s what matters most.
Need more insight to create your rockin’ recall system? Download one of the guides below.