How to Get Inactive Patients to Schedule an Appointment.

Moving a patient from active to inactive status is a somber moment. For some reason, one of your patients has not returned calls, followed up with his or her care or been in for a wellness check. However, the battle of retaining that person as a patient is not over. You can leverage today's medical trends and the appropriate tools, such as making patient registration forms available 24/7, to get them to schedule a new appointment. If your patients have started going inactive, use these eight tips to help bring them back through your doors.

Patient Intake Forms 

1. Make Reminders Automatic.

Reminders to visit your practice can get redundant, but automated reminders, including emails and texts, do not detract from your staff’s responsibilities. However, do not underestimate the importance of voice calls, so include at least one voice call for every fourth or fifth unanswered reminder. Obviously, it may go to voicemail, but hearing a staff member’s voice may do the trick.

2. Highlight Online Patient Intake Forms.

Patients want to be as prepared as possible for their appointments, and they do not want to spend precious time filling out forms in your lobby. Advise patients when new forms are available for access online, and make sure they have a link in their inbox or text messages to access them.

3. Create a Newsletter.

Newsletters are a great way to connect with others outside of your clinic. Create a newsletter, and display your practice by participating or sponsoring community events.

4. Include Concern in Your Gesture.

Any reminder or attempt to get a patient to schedule an appointment should be warm, friendly and concerned. Avoid harsh language, and try to emphasize importance, but do not come off as arrogant. In other words, try something along these lines:

We want you to have a toothache-free holiday! Schedule an appointment if you haven’t already!

5. Emphasize No-Wait Visits.

More people are worried about time than ever before. While a zero-wait policy may not be completely possible, you should aim for less than five minutes of total wait time. Explain your policy aims for no-waiting. If this is completely impossible, give your patients something to do.

For example, offer free Wi-Fi in your practice to all patients.

6. Touch on New, Lower Office Costs.

People love hearing about lower health care costs. It may not seem like the best way to encourage someone to schedule an appointment, but it will peak their interest. Of course, you can add the reasons for lower costs, such as eliminating excess paperwork with electronic patient registration forms.


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7. Contact Authorized Family Members.

Reach out to immediate family members, such as parents or siblings, about their loved one’s care. However, you must ensure you have authorization from the respective party to contact family members. If an inactive patient’s family member is still active in your clinic, let him know about your practice’s upgrades. He may just tell his family members about the new, improved and fast way you see patients. You might also create health-alert text messages to send out to them as well.

8. Provide Registration Access Immediately.

Regardless of how you reach out to inactive patients, always follow through with actionable information. In other words, include links to your website, patient intake forms and patient portals. If you do use an email blast, which consists of sending out emails to all inactive patients at once, make sure it is relevant with current events. For example, an email blast at the end of December might consist of this header:

Celebrate New Year’s by Giving Yourself the Smile You Wanted for Christmas.


What Next?

There are plenty of ways to reconnect with inactive patients, and some of them will detract from office responsibilities. However, making your online presence evident, highlighting improvements to your clinic or means of registering and highlighting true concern for a person’s health will help you get inactive patients into your office.

It’s all about return on investment, so invest in your patients with custom, online patient intake forms through Practice Sense today. If you are still not sure about its effectiveness, call 1 (800) 619-2955 to speak with a representative now.

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Topics: Patient Communication, Office Marketing and Advice, Scheduling Tips

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