BLOG: The cash flow benefits of continuity of care, part 3

Read more from John B. Pinto.

Picking up where we left off last time regarding recall and continuity of care, let’s check in on how your practice is doing in this critical area.

Take this simple test in your practice (assuming you are still using paper charts). Pull 20 charts at random, per doctor, of patients last seen 2 to 3 years ago (but not in the last year). Then fill out a chart that looks like this, with one line for each patient:

Patient account number

 

Age

 

Month and year of last visit

 

Primary diagnosis

 

 

Third-party payer

 

Doctor’s return to clinic order

 

Is there an appointment for this patient? (Note month and year)

 

Is there a recall for this patient? (Note month and year)

 

654321

 

69

 

11/2013

 

Cataracts

 

Medicare

 

12 months

 

Yes 11/2014

 

N/A

 

Is there a recall notice posted in the system? An appointment? If you’re an average practice, 10% or more of these patients will have been lost to follow-up. Going forward, establish agreed return-to-clinic intervals, audit to assure these are posted in the system and follow up with missing patients.

Is your practice a sieve or a bucket? The difference, over a career, can represent millions of dollars economically. More importantly, a tight recall system, over the course of a single physician’s life’s work, could mean the difference between clear sight and blindness for scores of your patients.

Read more from John B. Pinto.

Picking up where we left off last time regarding recall and continuity of care, let’s check in on how your practice is doing in this critical area.

Take this simple test in your practice (assuming you are still using paper charts). Pull 20 charts at random, per doctor, of patients last seen 2 to 3 years ago (but not in the last year). Then fill out a chart that looks like this, with one line for each patient:

Patient account number

 

Age

 

Month and year of last visit

 

Primary diagnosis

 

 

Third-party payer

 

Doctor’s return to clinic order

 

Is there an appointment for this patient? (Note month and year)

 

Is there a recall for this patient? (Note month and year)

 

654321

 

69

 

11/2013

 

Cataracts

 

Medicare

 

12 months

 

Yes 11/2014

 

N/A

 

Is there a recall notice posted in the system? An appointment? If you’re an average practice, 10% or more of these patients will have been lost to follow-up. Going forward, establish agreed return-to-clinic intervals, audit to assure these are posted in the system and follow up with missing patients.

Is your practice a sieve or a bucket? The difference, over a career, can represent millions of dollars economically. More importantly, a tight recall system, over the course of a single physician’s life’s work, could mean the difference between clear sight and blindness for scores of your patients.