business of pediatrics

How to Build a Patient Recall System

Pediatric practice revenue often slumps and spikes during key moments of the year as kids are more or less prone to illness: holidays and summer vacations being the most significant if you don’t have an active recall system. This anecdotal trend is familiar to many practices, and it’s backed up by data from PCC, too. This “summer slump” can be a big hit to practices when monthly salaries and bills remain the same, even as revenue decreases from a slower schedule. Did you know that with a customized patient recall system, you can defeat the “summer slump” and remain financially sound all year long? Here’s how to do it using PCC’s Patient Recall Worksheet tools.

Building Automated Patient Recall

If you’re starting a new practice or want to turn over a new recall leaf, we recommend the Building Your Own Patient Recall System worksheet. Patient recall is a process, not a one-stop solution, so it’s worth it for your practice to sit down and build out a system with the intention of finding the process that works for your community and staff.

A simple patient recall system should start small and grow over time. Starting with the data you have available from your favorite practice analytics tools or your own estimates, you can begin to see a picture of your performance across the measures that matter to you: well-visit rates, complex care follow-up visits, vaccine rates, and more. PCC practice can access data month to month on the PCC Dashboard for great insights on where your best opportunities and strengths are.

Gathering the Team

Once you’ve identified a goal to tackle, identify when you should start the project and who will be its champion. If, like many practices, your data shows a decrease in visits around the summer months, you already have a great time frame to begin your patient recall strategy. A project champion is a must: the Harvard Business Review has even identified different types of project managers so that you can select the best person for the role.

team planning patient recall

You and the project champion should also carefully consider the resources and time costs needed and gather input from stakeholders so that everyone is motivated for the change and understands your goals. For example, if you’re beginning a recall project to improve HPV vaccine rates, consider your existing workflows and opportunities for your team to pitch in. Here is the problem-solving phase, and it is a great place to get creative! 

If you want to spread awareness online, could a front desk person skilled at social media draft a post during a slow morning? If you want to offer counseling but don’t have time during the day, could you record a video for the practice website? Could physicians practice their vaccine conversations with one another to use participatory language and the CASE response? These are great questions to ask yourself to help identify different roles your team can play.

Once you meet your goal, keep going! The Build Your Own Patient Recall System worksheet can be easily copied and duplicated for ongoing improvement of your recall goals. The ideal recall system is buildable to consistently build habits and workflows that work under the surface. Once this happens, you can predict more consistent HPV, well-visit, or any other visit rate, increasing your revenue cycle management confidence all year long. An automated patient recall system is within your reach!

How to Build Your Practice Recall System

Use Patient Engagement to Reach PCMH 

Part of patient recall is improving areas where there is an opportunity for growth, such as low visit volume or vaccination rates. Another important part is patient engagement: connecting with families so that they’re more likely to build relationships with their pediatrician, book that next appointment, and arrive (hopefully) on time.

If you’re not new to patient recall or you have more specific goals in mind, you might like the Improve HEDIS® Measures with Patient Recall worksheet. This worksheet is great for practices aiming for PCMH certification. One part of meeting requirements for many practices is achieving the appropriate HEDIS® measures. These measures differ by state, so make sure to confirm the measures for your community while outlining your recall goals.

Pro tip: HEDIS® measures for your state may differ across your payors. Be sure to check if, for example, Blue Cross Blue Shield requires 80% obesity check rates and Cigna requires 82%, so that you can shoot for the appropriate measure.

Patient engagement is a crucial part of recall because patients who are engaged with your practice and have trusting relationships with their practice’s physicians and staff are more likely to engage with recommended healthcare plans and to make follow-up appointments. After considering your goals, ask your team: “What’s the best way to get families in the door for ADHD follow up? How can we reach them?”

Engagement takes many forms. You could choose to email, text, or share information on social media to remind families of the importance of well visits, for example. Critical to your success in patient engagement? Listening. Listening to families’ concerns, questions, and anxieties can give you valuable insight into what might be preventing them from coming in. Whether parents need reassurance due to vaccine fears, flexible hours to get their kids in after work and school, or resources for transportation to the office, engagement begins with listening. It can also result in better recall for every goal, including improved HEDIS® measures and certification of your practice as a medical home.

Better Recall, Better Patient Care

Improving revenue over a slow period or proactively filling your schedule are great reasons to begin or improve your patient recall process. An even better reason is perhaps the most obvious: a better recall program means better relationships with families, better care for your patients, and a better set of workflows that your team can depend on.

So, what are your goals for this year’s “summer slump”? Want to start a program to help local families access mental health care? Start booking next appointments at the reception desk every visit? Improve opportunities to bring healthcare to your community? Whatever your goals, don’t forget to check out our slate of 3 patient recall worksheets to help get you started and keep you going for excellent patient recall all year long.

Choose Your Custom Recall Worksheet!

Allie Squires

Allie Squires is PCC's Marketing Content Writer and editor of The Independent Pediatrician. She holds a master's in Professional Writing from NYU.