Q: How effective is pending patient follow-up?

A: Working with over 300 practices and managing over 15,000 consults a month, we now have a formidable data set to mine some interesting trends over different peer groups. Moreover, we’ve seen the industry increasingly accept the data we’ve published on the impact of driving more same-day starts—but what happens when you don’t get a same-day commitment? When training on our Pending Management tool to manage follow-ups, team members will often tell us, “Patients who are going to start generally start. If they aren’t going to start, chasing after them won’t change that”, or “I don’t want to bother them.” In fact, these notions could not be further from the truth and conflict with accepted consumer behavior norms. Although best practice follow-up marketing principles do indicate there is a point of diminishing return, that point is typically well beyond what most practices act on, and well beyond their comfort zone. As in most other industries, there is meaningful value in pushing past that discomfort. Diligent follow-up keeps the relationship engaged and reduces the chance that patients delay treatment or end up in another practice. Consider this:


We wanted to see the difference in conversion rate between comparable sets of practices that actively use OrthoFi’s pending management follow-up tool and those that don’t. The system automatically prompts the Treatment Coordinator to populate a follow-up date and the reason for any consult that does not end in a start. Then, the practice dashboard follow-up tool displays all those follow-ups and pop-up reminders. Some practices actively manage their follow-ups, updating with actions and new follow-ups or with recall appointments. This is the Active group. Some don’t use the tool, in which case their follow-up filter grows with overdue actions, shown above as the Inactive group. The conversion metric shown is our proprietary TRC (Treatment Recommended Conversion) Rate, which measures conversion only within the population of patients who have been recommended treatment, in this case after 45 and 90 days. To ensure the impact of follow-ups, we have isolated them by excluding all same-day starts, which explains why the conversion values are lower than you would expect. As shown above, the active follow-up group saw higher conversion rates at both 45 days (4 points, 10.5%) and 90 days (8 points, 18.2%) post-consult. How does that translate to dollars? For an average 300-start practice with $1.5 million in annual production, here’s the breakdown: out of 500 eligible consults (assumes an industry-standard 60% conversion rate) and 20% same-day starts (industry average), there are 400 consults that start after the consult date. An 8 percentage point higher conversion rate amounts to over 32 additional starts, or $160,000 incremental production (assuming a $5,000 average treatment fee). So how do you tap into that? If you have a CRM software that manages your follow-ups (some even offer automated drips), make sure your team is trained to use it and monitor your results. If you don’t, make sure to put together an 8 to 12 week follow-up protocol (plan how to reach out and how many times), and make sure your team is ready and able to follow it. Remember: it pays to be persistent. OP

About Inside the Numbers: Answers to questions submitted to Inside the Numbers are based on data collected by OrthoFi, and presented by CEO David Ternan. The data pulls from 200,000+ consults and over 150,000 patient starts in over 200 practices, including patient demographics and preferences, risk profile, and payment performance on over $150 million in receivables. Inside the Numbers aims to help you make informed decisions about patient financing and to dispel myths that can hinder growth.

Submit your questions to Inside the Numbers at [email protected].