Clip and Copy: How to reactivate inactive patients

Mail out this letter before you archive old charts; it may just boost office visits.

If you use paper-based medical records, you've probably developed the habit of pulling inactive charts each year and sending them to off-site storage. That's a perfect time to contact these patients and invite them back to the practice, says Judy Bee, a consultant with Practice Performance Group in La Jolla, CA.

"Why obsess about marketing efforts to attract new patients when you have a huge pool of existing patients who already know you?" says Bee.

Here is a letter [in PDF format], compliments of Bee, that will help you renew these old relationships. It informs the patient that you're about to archive his chart and asks if he still considers you his doctor. Use your practice management software system to produce a list of all patients who haven't been seen in the past two years. Merge the names and addresses into the letter, formatted for a window-faced envelope. If you don't know how to produce such a customized letter, ask your software vendor for help.

A letter tailored for practices that use EMRs will run in our next issue.