The What and Why of Patient Recall

Patient recall refers to the process of encouraging patients to schedule routine check-ups and return to the clinic. These regular appointments are crucial for providing ongoing care, ensuring patients’ well-being, and reducing patient churn. The frequency of these check-ups may vary based on each practice’s preference and the patient’s needs. Regardless of the recall duration, it is vital for healthcare practitioners to keep patients engaged during this time.

Here are some reasons why patient recall is important for every healthcare practice:

  1. Increase your value to patients: Regular check-ups and appointments enhance patients’ health outcomes. By sending reminders for routine check-ups, you can aid in early disease detection and develop more effective treatment plans. This practice demonstrates your care for patients, fostering a stronger sense of connection and engagement. Patient recall helps patients recognize your value.
  2. Improve patient retention: Patient recall is rooted in engagement. By keeping in constant touch with patients and reminding them of their upcoming check-ups, you address their healthcare needs. This leads to improved patient retention, as patients are more likely to continue receiving care from the same provider or healthcare facility.
  3. Save patient acquisition costs: Acquiring new patients is costly. Implementing patient recall methods ensures that existing patients return to your practice, eliminating the need for additional acquisition costs. By maintaining a consistent flow of patients through recall methods, you can reduce expenses associated with attracting new patients. This approach primarily targets patients already familiar with your services, who have demonstrated trust and satisfaction.

Interesting fact: A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed that a primary care practice implementing a patient recall system experienced significant revenue increases. By sending personalized letters to patients due for preventive screenings or follow-up visits, the practice saw a 20% increase in revenue from office visits and a 33% increase in revenue from preventive services.

Patient Acquisition vs. Patient Retention:

Patient acquisition focuses on attracting new patients through marketing efforts, while patient retention aims to build long-term relationships with existing patients. Patient recall plays a vital role in patient retention by promoting regular appointments, ongoing care, preventive measures, effective communication, relationship building, and ultimately improving patient satisfaction and loyalty.

Enhancing patient volume is a crucial measure of successful patient recall. Patient volume signifies the number of individuals who visit a healthcare practice within a specific timeframe. A higher patient volume is indicative of improved financial outcomes for the healthcare facility.

Maintaining a full schedule is a significant benefit of patient recall. Through proactive outreach to patients for their scheduled regular check-ups, preventive screenings, or follow-up appointments, healthcare practices can ensure a consistent influx of patients, thereby maximizing the utilization of their schedule and keeping it consistently occupied.

Strategies for effective patient recall involve educating patients about the importance of regular check-ups and implementing effective reminder systems. Here are some methods to improve patient recall in your practice:

  1. Schedule appointments promptly: When patients are in your office, make it a priority to schedule their next appointment before they leave. By proactively securing their next visit, you increase the likelihood of filling your schedule and ensuring their return. Avoid vague instructions like “come back in 6 months” and instead, schedule and confirm the appointment on the spot.
  2. Implement reminder systems: Sending timely reminders to patients is crucial for effective recall. Consider using a multi-step approach, starting with a confirmation text or reminder immediately after scheduling the appointment. Follow this up with a reminder two weeks before the appointment and a final reminder 24 hours in advance. 
  3. Choosing the most effective mode of communication for patient recall involves considering text messages, emails, and phone calls. It is crucial to inquire about your patients’ preferred contact method and tailor reminders and communications accordingly. To achieve this, it is advisable to utilize software that supports omni-channel communication, enabling you to connect with patients through their preferred channels. By prioritizing patient preferences, you can enhance engagement and ensure effective communication for successful patient recall.

Categorizing Recall Messages for Personalization

To add a personalized touch to recall messages, it can be beneficial to segregate them based on the type of appointment. This categorization involves distinguishing between General and Specialized messages. General messages are suitable for annual wellness checks or regular checkups, while Specialized messages are tailored to a patient’s specific treatment plan. For instance, if a patient is undergoing a treatment that requires four clinic visits over three months, the reminders can include details about the next step of their treatment. 

Leveraging Panel Management to Boost Recall Rates

Panel management is a proactive approach to identify patients with unmet chronic and preventive healthcare needs and ensure they receive the necessary care. Here’s how it works:

  1. Identifying patients with unmet care needs: Through data analysis and patient information, healthcare providers can identify individuals who require specific checkups or procedures for preventive care. This involves reviewing patient records, medical history, and physician recommendations.
  2. Personalized outreach for identified patients: Once patients with unmet care needs are identified, personalized outreach efforts are made to inform them about the required checkups or procedures. This can include sending reminders, making phone calls, or using other communication methods to engage with the patients and schedule their appointments.

By implementing panel management, healthcare providers can enhance doctor-patient relationships and increase patient engagement. When patients observe the extra effort made by the clinic to address their specific needs, it fosters a sense of personalized care and improves their overall experience. As a result, patients are more likely to respond to recall efforts and schedule their appointments, leading to improved recall rates.

A comparative analysis of patient recall communication channels 



Delivery time 

Response Rate



$0.02 (approx)





$0.25/ minute (approx)









Key insights:

Phone calls are a cost-effective option with a higher response rate. However, timing is crucial to avoid being intrusive. Phone calls are particularly useful for reaching older patients who may not be familiar with technology.

Email communication is widely accepted and cost-free. It can be effective if patients have chosen email as their preferred communication method. However, the response rate for emails tends to be lower.

Text messaging is an excellent channel for recall reminders. It is affordable, delivers messages instantly, and has a high response rate. Moreover, text messages have an impressive open rate of 98%, making them the optimal communication channel for patient recall.


A crucial takeaway is that retaining existing patients can account for up to 80% of your revenue. Therefore, it is vital to select a recall system that aligns with this significant contribution. Implementing a recall system not only promotes the well-being of your patients but also contributes to the success of your practice. 

EyeAppoint is here to help by providing a robust Patient Engagement & Communication platform allowing you not only to provide recall reminders but an assortment of message templates to engage with your patients. Learn more about EyeAppoint’s Patient Engagement platform by visiting our services page or meeting with a team member today!