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The Impact of Missed Appointments (And What You Can Do About It)

female doctor with mask on looking at patient

One of the unfortunate consequences of medical distancing due to COVID-19 has been a dramatic decline in the number of preventive screenings and visits. On a panel at the RISE Medicare Marketing & Sales Summit, our client American Cancer Society called attention to the impact of these missed appointments: an initial 46% decrease in newly diagnosed patients with 6 common types of cancer (i.e. breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, gastric, and esophageal). As the American Cancer Society highlighted, these missed cancers will still be diagnosed eventually, but likely at a later stage and with worse prognosis.  

One way the American Cancer Society will track COVID-19’s impact on cancer incidence and outcomes is through its Cancer Prevention Study-3, a research project for which we recently conducted an IVR campaign to retain volunteer participants. But data on the long-term outcomes of COVID-19 are necessarily lagging. You are in a position today to take action and get people to close gaps in care by catching up on missed screenings and appointments.

Our engagement experts offer these 3 tips to close gaps in care, hopefully before it’s too late. Bonus – leverage them and you’ll also boost member satisfaction, quality measures and business performance.

Leverage Data and Analytics to Accurately Identify High-Risk Individuals

SDOH factors, which contribute up to 70% of a person’s health status, are changing almost daily due to COVID-19. To build targeted lists that accurately reflect a person’s risk today, our team is leveraging consumer data (with up to 1,000 variables and SDOH insights) and advanced analytics to help clients identify who is at high risk for missing appointments or for certain conditions, who is likely to respond to outreach, and who is likely to take action and book an appointment. 

Optimize Campaigns to Boost Engagement

It’s harder than ever for your messages to break through. Did you know that you can increase effectiveness of your campaigns by up to 300% by using 4 or more channels in a coordinated way? Our team is helping clients add new channels – like text messaging and automated calls – to reach people with critical reminders. We also help them strategize about which messages to use, and even things like which voice talent will resonate best with the target audience.

  • Proof point: “Don’t be afraid to try something new, because like us, you can be extremely pleased with the outcome” Marji McCullough, Senior Scientific Director, Epidemiology Research, American Cancer Society. “For our next survey, we even decided to add a question inviting people to opt-in for text message communications.”

Offer Rewards to Drive Action

Incentives and rewards are proven ways to engage people in completing targeted actions. We are helping clients integrate rewards – like a $25 gift card for getting a flu shot – into their outreach programs. We also do the fulfillment process – making this a seamless, easy-to-manage benefit to offer your people.

These are just a few of the ways our team is helping address the challenges caused by medical distancing. We want to help you too. Let’s talk about what specific gaps in care you need to close, and some strategies to get your people re-engaged.