Have you ever thought about the amount of revenue you miss out on when patients fail to adhere to annual visits? For many, their busy schedule prevents them from knowing their availability that far into the future and inevitably they forget to call for an appointment when it’s time for their next exam.
With the value of an appointment at $346, it’s easy to see how big of an impact a large quantity of missed or unscheduled appointments could make in your practice.
5 Tips To Improve Patient Recalls.
An effective recall strategy can help your practice meet revenue goals and keep patients on schedule. More appointments mean more revenue for your practice, and proactive outreach is a great way to increase patient satisfaction as well.
Here are 5 tips to improve patient recalls.
1. Build Value in Your Appointments
You’re just about to finish a visit with your patient. You have their undivided attention. Now is a great opportunity to explain why it is important that they come back for their next visit. This is overly simple but frequently overlooked.
If all you say at the end of your exam is “everything looks great” they may not see a reason to come back next time. Make sure you are completely honest, but be a little more descriptive than a one-liner.
Discuss any concerns and what to watch out for. Explain common things that occur with people their age. Go into details and they will see why they should come back the next time around.
2. Set the Appointment Before They Leave
This one is pretty simple and I’m sure most of you do this already. Before a patient leaves your office, make sure they have an appointment in their calendar. This simple commitment will make a MASSIVE difference if you’re not utilizing it already.
What if they say, “I don’t know my schedule right now”? Go ahead and book it, and tell them that you can adjust this when you reach out to confirm their appointment in 6 months. That way they are expecting you to reach out and “remind them” and it is not an intrusion.
Families may have a hard time getting each member into your office on separate days. Try getting several family members to come into the office at the same time and make life a lot easier for them. It’s also harder for one person to back out of their appointment if they know the rest of the family is going in.
3. Use Multiple Communication Platforms
Everyone has a different preferred method of communication. Data shows that text messages have the best read and response rates, but that doesn’t mean that everyone wants to talk via that medium.
To see the best success try asking each patient if they prefer calling, emailing, or texting. Make a note in the Practice Management System or Patient Communication System about the patient’s preferred method of communication.
4. Have One Person In Charge Of Recall
The front office has so much to do and recall may not be at the top of the list. You may consider having one person on your staff focusing 100% on recall.
Set goals, talk about expectations, and have them work on improving their results. Holding one person accountable for recalls can have a huge payoff.
5. Track Your Results
The number of complete exams per 100 active patients is a gross indicator of recall success. According to ECPU MBA Key Metric Report 2018, the median MBA practice conducts 39 complete eye exams per 100 active patients.
Where your practice fits in reference to this number is not important. The best way to benchmark is to find the norm for your practice. Track your recall process for 90 days with the current method you’re using. Then use those numbers to determine your benchmark goals.
Remember, each Optometry practice is unique and as such, there is no perfect formula for growing a practice. The best results come from experimenting with a few ideas and seeing the results. Try the ideas given above and track their performance to see if you need to make adjustments.
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