Improving Patient Follow Through
Updated: Nov 2, 2022
The new patient log and checklist
Working with different offices, we are always reminded of the fundamentals that apply universally. For example...
Once your patient has committed to getting better, it is your job, and everyone else on the team, to help them achieve their goals.
But in the busyness of everyday office interactions, essential steps along the way can become abbreviated or dropped out altogether.
At one office I recently visited, the patient visits and income were diving downward on a monthly trend. And this was occurring even though the new patient volume had been pretty steady.
When I inquired with the front desk staff, they told me that patients were sick, had money problems, were busy, and blah blah blah.
I asked if this was a new phenomenon. Did patients suddenly become poor, was there a new pandemic? What?
Didn’t get any real answers, as they were busy on the phones doing recalls trying to get people back in the office. The doctor wasn’t sure what was happening. To his credit, he loves adjusting and focuses on providing outstanding care – which he does, usually at a high volume.
Long story short, after investigating, I discovered that the doctor had changed up his treatment procedure slightly, and staff positions had changed. As a result, new patient financial consultations had dropped out. The patients had been getting excellent care but had no idea about their payments and were only scheduled for one visit at a time.
This was a pretty big change! A critical procedure just silently disappeared without anyone really noticing. (Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Plug: Consulting doesn’t cost. It pays!)
Everyone at the office is a veteran, hard-working, and goal driven. A great team. But this missing procedure was costing them thousands and preventing patients from getting the full benefit of care.
We implemented several solutions that have worked for other offices.
One solution was the New Patient Log and Checklist. I gave them a sample to customize. It is a lined sheet on a clipboard. Each new patient is listed vertically on the left column, followed by other columns stipulating key actions that should occur on each patient. The Log would include such things as:
Report of findings and Tx Program.
Multiple appt. card.
Financial Consult.(When, by whom.)
First adjustment call.
Attend NP workshop.
If referred by patient, what is pt.’s name?
Thank you card to referring patient?
Type [ WC, PI, C, etc.]
You could add more columns, but the most vital aspect of this Log is this: it must be assigned to someone. You and the team can review the NP Log during your morning meetings or at weekly team meetings.
One of the lessons here is to always look for what you and your team are doing or not doing before you look to the environment for why your practice may be slipping – or booming!
And help your patients achieve their health goals by ensuring that they complete all the steps necessary along their health journey to achieve their goals.
Stay Goal Driven for a happier future!
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there are reasons -- many of which are hidden from you.
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The Goal Driven Business By Edward Petty