How to stop your patients from lapsing

by By Karyn Ekola, CVPM

5 min read

The typical veterinary practice has a large number of lapsed patients, according to data from the Practice Overview Report. On average, lapsed patients represent 20% of a practice’s active patient count.

Patients are considered lapsing when they haven’t been to the practice in 14-18 months. Once they pass the 18-month mark, they have lapsed — and once they lapse, it’s difficult to get them back. That’s why a lapsing patient reengagement program is critical to the health of your practice.

The key to a successful program is consistency. Your program should include different ways to reconnect with clients, as well as steps to take while a patient is still active to prevent them from lapsing at all. Here are some tactics that might work for your practice:

  • Collect client emails: This ensures you can send email reminders to your clients about their pet’s upcoming appointments or appointments that need to be scheduled.
  • Send postcards: Believe it or not, many clients still depend on postcard reminders. Some practices experience double or triple the amount of lapsing patients after they stop sending postcards and only send emails. A combination of both is your best bet.
  • Enter a reminder for every patient: Many first-time patients come in for a problem visit, not preventive care. Adding a reminder to your system ensures clients will receive some form of communication from you in the future and provides the opportunity to invite the patient back for preventive care.
  • Monitor your forward booking: Keep an eye on your forward-booking rate, which is easy to do with Vetsource’s Practice Overview Report. Be sure every patient has their next visit already scheduled before they leave your practice.
  • Make it easy for your clients to book an appointment: Have an appointment request option on your website or, even better, get a mobile app like Vet2Pet Client Engagement so clients can request appointments from their phones. Most mobile apps also integrate with your practice software and will send your clients notifications about upcoming services and appointments.
  • Automate the process: Vetsource’s RETRIEVER email program is completely automated, which will save your staff valuable time. Emails are automatically sent to clients who haven’t visited your practice in 14, 16, and 18 months and include a button that allows clients to request an appointment. Plus, monthly reports show you how many patients came back and how much revenue was generated

Above all, remember that consistency is key. If you don’t have a plan in place, consider starting with RETRIEVER first to automate the process and then figure out what other programs you might want to put in place in the future.

Karyn Ekola, CVPM

Karyn Ekola, CVPM

Karyn is a CVPM who started her veterinary industry career in 2002 and assisted with the development and launch of the mobile app in 2010! As Director of Product, Karyn provides technical support to practices and app users, works closely with the developer team to coordinate new app releases, feature updates and improvements, and ensures that Vet2Pet’s technology remains a cutting-edge solution for veterinary practices and their clients.

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