As JUCM News has reported, many urgent care operators started suffering downturns in patient visits in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. It could be hard to get those patients back without a concerted effort on your part, according to an article just published by JAMA Network. The authors sought to determine the effect of targeted messaging on getting patients who had delayed care back into the doctor’s office, comparing sending a letter vs not sending a letter; sending a tailored letter vs a standard letter; and sending a letter via email vs regular mail. The primary outcome was the percentage of patients who had an in-person visit, procedure, or surgery with a clinician within 1 month of receiving a communique. In-person return visits within 1 month of letters being sent were low and not significantly different between patients who did and did not receive a letter overall. Patients who received a tailored letter were 15% more likely to schedule a visit, however, regardless of whether they received that letter electronically or in their mailbox. Patients whose household income was below the median were more likely to schedule a visit when they received an actual hard-copy letter compared with those who received an email version. Now that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, it seems clear that maintaining regular communication with your patients (and prospective patients) will facilitate both greater use of healthcare and your own patient volume.
Patients Who Left You During the Pandemic May Not Return Without an Invitation