The average practice has 1,000 to 2,000 inactive patients per provider who need care but haven’t responded to recalls, and the office has stopped reaching out to them. This group comprises a range of patients, from individuals who require only routine exams to those with more serious conditions. Understanding why patients go inactive is important to knowing how to bring them back for the care they need and to avoid the liability your practice could incur. 

One: Patients Ignore Recalls

The biggest reason patients go missing is because they ignore their recall notices. Tracking recall response rates is difficult, thus most practices don’t know the percentage of their patients who respond. A recent study found that the typical conversion rate for a single round of recalls was 25 to 40 percent.[1]Gerlach B, Muhlestein T. Recalls, revisited. Administrative Eyecare. 2006;19-23. This means that more than half of your patients likely don’t respond to their recall notice.

Two: Offices Give Up Too Easily

In a separate survey question, 67 percent of practices said they make a single recall attempt; another 28 percent indicated they try twice. It is rare to find a practice trying more than two times. Most practices also rely on a single recall method: Emails, texts, phone calls, or postcards, and they might follow up unanswered recalls with a phone call. 

Three: Switching Practice Management Systems Loses Data

Patient visit, treatment and billing data is often lost when practices switch to new practice management systems, which often occurs when they implement electronic health records (EHR) or when a practice buys another practice. The problem is that migrations often transfer only patient demographics, leaving visit and treatment histories behind. Some practices maintain the old system to first query patients, and then they look up the patients in the new system to schedule them. This is a cumbersome and error-prone process. 

Four: Office Errors Include Misplaced Patients

Patients sometimes fall through the cracks because patient records don’t clearly define next steps. These are usually staff errors, but sometimes patients slip past the front desk without setting a follow-up appointment, and the staff doesn’t input an expected return date. Without that date, recalls or reminders are never sent. 

You Can Reactive Missing Patients

The results of these four failures are patients who have visited your practice but are now inactive. Reactivating your lost patients might be the easiest way to increase quality of care and grow your practice. Adding even four patients per day could increase practice revenue by $150,000 annually and add hundreds of patients who need follow-up care. A commitment to the best patient-retention and reactivation process your practice can deliver is fundamental to the long-term health of your patients and business.

Brevium is the pioneer in patient reactivation. Brevium’s software mines its clients’ patient databases using customized algorithms to improve the patient appointment lifecycle™. Hundreds of practices have found Brevium to be a trusted partner, with personalized training and unlimited support. Through original research and software development, Brevium helps ensure that patients return for the care they need, and practices derive the greatest financial benefit from the patient appointment lifecycle™.

References

References
1 Gerlach B, Muhlestein T. Recalls, revisited. Administrative Eyecare. 2006;19-23.