Sometimes it’s hard to get patients to follow up with routine check-ups. They may not be motivated, have difficulty getting there, or the provider may be too far away. But you can find ways to motivate your patients and keep them coming back for care. Here are some tips on how you can do that:
Send reminders to their phone
Setting reminders on a patient’s phone is a great way to help them stay on track. You can either set a reminder for the appointment day or a few days before. This will help ensure that they don’t forget and have time to prepare for their appointment.
Doctors can use appointment reminder software to automatically send the patient an alert before their scheduled visit. This way, no-shows can be prevented. The software also provides a way for the patient to confirm or cancel their attendance, saving the physician’s time.
Remind them of the importance of following up
Patients are more likely to show up for care if they know why seeing a physician is important. Remind them of the consequences if they don’t see a healthcare professional on time, such as needing even more invasive treatments down the line. Illnesses tend to develop gradually and can become more complicated if not detected in time.
If you have a good relationship with your patient, they may be open to speaking about their fears or hesitation about seeing a professional. You can try saying something like, “I understand that it’s difficult to leave work at times, but I want to remind you of how important this is.”
Some patients might only be motivated by money, so it helps to remind them of the costs they will incur if they don’t follow up. Putting a price tag on their time and suffering can encourage them to do what they need to do.
It might also help to tell them exactly why they need to come back, including what tests or procedures they will have to undergo. Understanding the process can help ease their fears and let them know what to expect.
Encourage them to have someone else come with them
Patients are more likely to go in for check-ups when they have someone to accompany them. This person, usually a family member or friend, can serve as a reminder and help them get to their appointment.
Having someone to accompany them can give them comfort, especially if they fear the results of their tests. They also have another set of ears to keep them company during the wait.
Provide an alternative
If a patient cannot come to the clinic for any reason, it could be better to offer them an alternative. One such alternative is telemedicine. This way, they can speak with their primary physician without having to leave their homes.
This is also preferred by patients who are uncomfortable speaking face-to-face about intimate issues. Speaking through a video call will help them feel more at ease because of the increased privacy.
Moreover, it eliminates obstacles that are preventing them from seeing their physician. Those who may not have their own vehicle or cannot find time off from work can make use of telemedicine.
Adjust your schedule to make sure you fit their schedules
Doctors don’t always have the luxury of time, but sometimes they need to adjust their daily routine to meet with patients during off-hours. If they are too busy, suggest alternate times to see a patient instead. You can also ask them to book an earlier or later appointment, depending on what time is best for the patient.
Give patients rewards for following up
You don’t necessarily have to give your patients money or anything that comes with strings attached; it can be as simple as giving them praise or a gift. The idea is to make them feel appreciated so that they will be more willing to follow up.
Refer another specialist
Sometimes, it just is not working out. It might be better to refer them to another specialist to help them get the care they need.
The referring doctor is in a better position to recommend someone more suitable. They know how their patients work, which means they can suggest professionals who are most likely to meet their needs.
Patients are more likely to follow up on their medical appointments if they know the consequences of not seeing a healthcare professional. From reminding them of how important it is, giving them options for when they can see you, or offering an alternative such as telemedicine, there are many ways doctors and other health professionals can encourage patients to do what they need to do.
Meta title: How to Motivate Patients to Follow Up
meta desc: In the age of canceled appointments and easy access to healthcare professionals, it’s easy for a patient to forget or put off going in for a routine check-up.