Increasing Pediatric Visits: The Power of Recalls

During hard-hitting waves of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, data from the Commonwealth Fund found that weekly pediatric sick visits declined by 24%. Even today, many pediatric practices are reporting that office visits are still not back to pre-pandemic levels. Now is a great time to encourage families in your practice to turn their focus to well visits for their children.

You can start to “normalize” your schedule by following these two simple steps to target acute care pediatric visits.

STEP 1: Identify Gaps in Care and Run Recalls

The most efficient way to identify gaps in care is by utilizing your EHR to generate a list of patients according to specific criteria.

Unlike financial reports, these reports are primarily used to obtain lists of patients meeting specific clinical information.

Clinical Recall Reports 

Clinical recall reports allow you to produce a report by a date range for patients with selected problems, medication allergies, medications, or lab results.

Proactively reaching out to these patients to close care gaps is both good care and good business. Some examples of search criteria you can use include:

  • Patients who receive care for asthma. All patients who have been prescribed albuterol in the past year or have persistent asthma as part of their problem list.
  • Patients who receive care for ADHD. All patients who have been prescribed an ADHD medication in the past year or have ADHD on their problem list.
  • Patients who receive care for depression. All patients who have been prescribed an antidepressant or other medication in the past year, or have depression on their problem list.
  • Patients who receive care for anxiety – All patients who have been prescribed anti-anxiety medication in the past year or have anxiety on their problem list.
  • Patients who are eligible for optimal weight management. All patients who have had a previously documented BMI ≥ 95% or have obesity on their problem list. 

Care Plan Recall Reports 

The Care Plan Recall Report will display a list and/or recall patients due for items associated with a Care Plan. OP comes with out-of-the-box care plans for:

  • Bright Futures Preventative
  • Asthma action plans
  • Lead exposure
  • Diabetes
  • Down Syndrome

But you don’t need to be limited to just those items. If your practice specializes in certain pediatric concerns, you can create your own personalized plan to provide better care for your patients.

You can also use this feature to produce a report of past-due items so you can identify patients who are eligible for Care Plans, but have not yet been enrolled.

Vaccine Status Recalls 

While pediatricians are doing the hard work of recalling patients due for well visits, it’s not uncommon for some immunizations (such as the 2nd dose of the HPV vaccine) to get lost in the shuffle. The Vaccine Status Recall Report will display a list of patients to recall who are due or behind for any vaccine. 

Getting all patients caught up on immunizations is an ongoing effort for many pediatric practices. This includes catching those patients who are in the office for well and sick visits. There are very few clinical reasons not to give a vaccine, even if a child is mildly ill. You should proactively reach out and schedule those who are not on your calendar already.

Pro tip! While families are in your office, take advantage of this report to evaluate whether any siblings need to be scheduled for a missed or upcoming vaccine.

STEP 2: Schedule the Visits

Now that you’ve identified gaps in care for your active patients, you’ll want to reach out to them and get them scheduled for an office visit.

Before you begin scheduling visits, it’s essential to make sure your practice team has the time to take care of these important tasks. Ensure your schedule has room to accommodate families based on their availability and needs. If you’re having difficulty finding time for an in-office visit that works for a family’s busy schedule, consider a telehealth appointment.

 As you reach out to patients, keep the following tips in mind:  

  • Utilize family preferences for methods of contact
  • Start with bulk messaging to invite families to schedule visits
  • Personalize outreach for those who do not respond to bulk invitations 
  • Create a process for following up with those who do not respond
  • Consider sending a letter (by old-fashioned snail mail) to families who do not respond to multiple outreach efforts. Explain that you are considering them inactive patients and will be happy to transfer their records. While no one ever wants to lose patients, good data hygiene and cleaning up your records actually give you a much clearer picture of the state of your practice.

This is not work that should be done only when you have gaps in your schedule or in your revenue. Proactively reaching out to patients on a regular basis should be a part of your practice DNA. 

The Result: Decreased Gaps in Care and Increased Practice Revenue

With a recall strategy and the necessary tools to run reports, you’ll be able to increase office visits and boost immunization rates, ensuring every patient in your practice gets the excellent care they deserve. These efforts will lead to better patient outcomes and a more favorable bottom line for your practice. 

As a bonus, this proactive outreach helps to facilitate better long-term relationships with the families in your practice and ensures you receive your hard-earned pay-for-performance dollars.

Want to learn more ways to ensure your pediatric practice’s financial success? Click here to download six strategies for improving your well visit rates.

EHRs are the key to streamlining operations, identifying efficiencies and gaps in care, and freeing up valuable time for you and your staff. Our EHR offers features designed to help keep your practice’s financial and clinical operations running smoothly, so you can focus on what you do best – taking care of your patients. To learn how Office Practicum can help your pediatric practice operate at its best, contact us today.

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