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  • Zak Bartley

Reactivating Dormant Patients


Two Nurses Working At Nurses Station Sitting Down

Most health care practices have a core of 2500 to 3500 active patients along with many inactive patients who have become dormant and not made an office visit from one to 10 years. The laws vary by state as to required time for medical record retention from a minimum of 3-5 years to a maximum of 10 plus years.

Why not use the PatientStudio online forms service to help reactivate these patients? Assign a staff member to call a few of these “missing” patients each day. Say, “We are updating our medical records and your contact information with a new secure and convenient way for you to provide us with this information online. We just need your email address, and we will send you the link.”

Depending on the number of inactive patients and whether or not their records have been converted to electronic formats, staff may look at this assignment as over the top and not put in the energy and effort needed to be successful.

So, we recommend setting up incentives such as cash bonuses for every patient they activate as defined by the patient making an appointment for themselves or a family member. Practically, offer the project to the entire staff on a voluntary basis and divide up the dormant patient list is some fair manner – let them make the calls during down time at the office, on their lunch break if they choose and even at home on their own time, if they are motivated as such by the cash bonus.

You might even consider a sliding scale – a specified dollar amount for each activation and a lesser amount for retrieving information that could be pertinent in the future such as why the patient has not returned for an appointment or why they may have left the practice.

Did the patient pass away? Did they switch to another doctor? If so, why? Was it because they had a problem with someone or something in the office and simply left mad? Did the patient move? Or was it some other reason? This is all important information, especially if they left in the last 1-2 years and you still considered them active.

The goal is to get the patient’s email address if they don’t immediately make an appointment. Then you can send them a “welcome” or “welcome back” email customized to their particular situation. Within the email template there will be a link to their online, secure forms.

While the patient may not pull the trigger by scheduling their appointment as the result of your contact, you can add their name and email address to the PatientStudio eNewsletter database, thereby assuring they will receive your newsletter monthly unless they opt out. If you do send them the welcome invitation to fill out their forms, their name and email will automatically be captured in your database.

Additionally, you might also consider holding a contests for reactivated patients. When your staff person speaks to them, they can mention that because they are providing their email, they will be entered into a drawing for a “free” check-up or some other prize of your choosing. And after someone wins, publicize it in your monthly eNewsletter.

For more information, watch our 2-minute video at Patientstudio.com