Our practice recall system has been in place since before I was practice owner and that's been nearly twenty years. We have updated it because of EMR and also utilize automated social media options, but the basic concept has remained in place for many years.
We believe in annual eye health examinations for all of our patients. As participants in the AOA program InfantSee, we provide free eye examinations to infants from 6-12 month of age. This is our opportunity to advise the parents of our desire to re-examine their child at age 3 and prior to entering kindergarten. Since children vision changes often accompany growth spurts, we also advise that all school aged children be seen annually. Our contact lens wearers need to be monitored to insure that their eye health is not being compromised by contact lens wear. For adults, our greater concern is glaucoma and regular pressure checks. Emerging presbyopes and then for seniors serious monitoring for eye disease as a preventative tool is very beneficial annually.
How do we get patient compliance with annual eye examinations?
We bill insurances medically and therefore most patients have coverage for their examination. Most will have small co-pays and some will owe nothing.
We set up their next appointment before they leave the office.
We do not pre-appoint without the patient's involvement. The doctor always tells the patient at the end of the exam, "let's have you back in a year to follow up on...but if you notice any changes or have any concerns, let us know and we can get you in sooner." If the patient has questions about "why annually." the doctor can specify the reason for that particular patient right then and there. If the patient prefers a recall reminder to a pre-appoint, we make note of it and respect the patient's wishes. We want the patient to want to be here with the understanding that it is what's best for their eye health not because we care more about our bottom line than their eyes. If a patients prefers a two year recall, we respect that also, but quite frankly that is extremely rare when the doctor has taken the few extra minutes to explain their reasons for wanting the patient back.
Then the patient is pre-appointed at check out by the front desk and their printed receipt includes the date and time of their next appointment. Approximately one year from today at the same or a similar time.
One moth prior to their appointment, we mail out a reminder post card, which we have personalized to include a picture of the doctor so they don't immediately discard it as junk mail. Three weeks prior to their appointment, they receive an email requesting that they confirm the date and time of their upcoming visit. Three days prior to their appointment and they receive a reminder text message and on the day of their appointment they receive another text 4 hours prior to their appointment.
This system has resulted in very minimal "no-shows" and excellent compliance with keeping appointed annual examinations. We all work very hard to get patients in the door through various marketing efforts, we need to pay as much attention into keeping them coming back. Most importantly, if our reasons for recall are genuine and truly what we believe to be in our patients best interest, we will achieve success!