Every optometrist or ophthalmologist has those patients who rarely miss an exam and are quick to reschedule if they do. Most also have patients that seem to fall off the grid and are hard to get in touch with in order to maintain a healthy regime of eye care exams.
As a recent article in Optometric Management shares, many practices use a “one-size-fits-all” strategy for reaching out to the patients that seem to have lost their way. Once a patient becomes unresponsive, they usually send a postcard and/or call. This, however, is not always the most effective method for getting these patients back into the office. Evan Kestenbaum, co-founder and chief information officer of GPN and co-owner of Optix Eyecare Center in New York, shares several great strategies for encouraging patients to respond and reschedule appointments.
- Follow each comprehensive exam with housekeeping – After the exam, place a recall date in your practice management system. Then, use various forms of communication to reach patients to remind them of upcoming appointments to increase the chances that they will return.
- Periodically identify lost patients – Set aside some time to periodically look through your practice management system to identify patients who have missed appointments or have not come into the office in several months. Kestenbaum defines “lost” patients as “any patient who has not returned for more than 30 months.”
- Reach out to lost patients – Kestenbaum advises reaching out to lost patients first by email once per month. He recommends not only emailing reminders to schedule eye exams, but also emailing information on eye health and the importance of sunglasses and/or fashion trends in sunglasses. You can even email announcements of new technology you have in-office. From there, send postcards and call quarterly to try to connect with them.
We agree that sharing information about new technology, such as optomap, is a great reason to reach out to lost patients. All patients are likely to appreciate updates that show your practice is staying up to date with the latest medical advancements. It also provides incentive for patients to get back to the eye doctor since optomap is known for being a fast and painless exam. Visit our website for more details on optomap.
How do you bring back lost patients? Leave a comment to share your strategies with us.