From time to time in every administrator’s mind, there is a nagging awareness that there are “missed opportunities” of recapturing all the patients from the routine recall system. As in most practices, the intentions are good, however the resources in personnel and time always seem to eliminate the ability to effectively follow-up with patients that receive a written reminder, however never call in to get an appointment. We ran a recall of all the patients that had not returned to the practice in 4 years and the results indicated 40,000 patients. This quantity is probably a bit unusual as the previous administration neglected to monitor that the receptionists were appropriately putting in recalls when the patients were last seen. Also, the practice did not schedule out longer than 6 months so almost every patient was to leave with a “recall” in the system. In one way, this was a great opportunity to reach out to former patients of the practice and get them to come back. I knew our existing staff and telephone capacity would not handle this additional project.
I was familiar with professional telemarketers as part of an effective LASIK marketing strategy. So, I sought out Opticall, as they had years of experience in ophthalmology and LASIK marketing. I requested Opticall to help us quickly and in a dedicated manner to perform telephone follow-up to a letter we were sending to 40,000 patients. The letters had a dedicated telephone number directly to Opticall. Our marketing manager trained the Opticall call center personnel to be able to use our patient scheduling system. Also, our staff trained the call center personnel about the practice, the 5 locations, directions, specialties of each of our 7 providers and what type of appointments we wanted scheduled with each provider and which payors each provider participated with. Opticall answered the telephones as a seamless part of our practice. Not only did they answer the telephone of patient initiated calls, the call center personnel placed daily outgoing calls to the patients from the recall mailing list proactively and personally invited the patients to schedule an appointment.
The practice has averaged approximately 140 new appointments per month from this program. The practice, to date, has had a 660% return on investment from the relationship with Opticall. We started the program in mid December 2009 and continue to run the program monthly. We are sending all current recalls to Opticall monthly as they continue to call the remaining available people from our 40,000 piece mailing.
Nancy Shipley, CEO