We can fill our schedules not only with new patients, but also increasing existing patients returning to our practices.
Unfortunately, the last few years have seen an erosion of urologist’s incomes-reimbursements decreasing and overhead increasing. We cannot significantly impact reimbursements. However, we can fill our schedules not only with new patients, but also increasing existing patients returning to our practices.
The most valuable patient in your practice is your existing patient. These are the patients who already have a relationship with you and have confidence in your knowledge and skills. These are the patients who recommend you to their friends and family, they leave positive online reviews, and readily come to you without solicitation when they need urologic care.
Many urologic practices spend time and money to attract new patients but completely neglect patients their existing patients as a source of filling their schedules and adding to their bottom line.
You can track whether your existing patients followed up at the correct time intervals by 1) having follow up guidelines, and 2) a delegated recall coordinator.
I suggest that you establish guidelines for the follow up intervals of specific patient populations. Figure 1 shows the example that was used in my practice.
Next, delegate someone as a recall-list coordinator. You might assign this position to PA, NP, medical assistant, or receptionist. Consider creating a recall list monthly.The recall list consists of three categories: 1) Patient already seen within the follow up guidelines, 2) Patient has an appointment already scheduled, and 3) Patient who needs an appointment for follow up.
Patients in categories 1 and 2 do not need be called as they are within the guidelines. Those in category 3 are called to schedule an appointment.
If you want to take this a step further, track the recall appointment rate by determining how many patients in category 3 made appointments.
Working on the recall list is a task that is frequently assigned to a staff member on days when I am in surgery or out of the office on vacation or attending a meeting.
Bottom Line: Recall lists are an effective tool to maximize fill your schedule and maximize your productivity by using your existing patient database. Remember, every time you call a patient it jogs their memories that you are still there and care about their urologic condition. Patients are impressed that you are paying attention to their follow-up needs and will feel reassured that they are in good hands under your care. Thus, a recall list is a win-win for the urologist-patient relationship.