It is important that Practices have their own recall and reminder policies in place. This is a requirement of the RACGP standards.
Information sent out using the Appointuit Engage! system is under the direct control of the practice. No information is ever sent by Appointuit directly to your patients. It is important your staff understand the necessary privacy and confidentiality laws.
A copy of our privacy and security information can be located on our website:
While privacy is paramount, this needs to be balanced with the costs (time and dollars) of communicating pro-active health communications with patients. We also need to understand the changing society we live in, the increasing role of electronic communications and societal expectations regarding convenience.
Patients also already get (either by consenting to or not) a range of information and reminders about their health from a range of source including via Australia Post, email and via SMS. These include immunisation information, records and reminders from ACIR, pap smear reminders from the PSR (opt out service), appointment reminders and others.
The following is a guide to understanding Recalls and Reminders
Disclaimer: The following is a collection of pieces of advice from other sources. Practices should seek their own advice in relation to their specific recall and reminder policies.
There does seem to be some confusion out there as the difference between these important health communications and the frequency and accountability attached to each.
How many reminders should I be sending a patient?
Firstly, we recommend you are clear on what a reminder is and what a recall is- as they have very different medico-legal accountabilities.
See RACGP standards 1.3.1 and 1.5.3
If you are doing proactive reminders- such as pap smears, immunisation reminders etc, there is no specified number of attempts. Legal advice from MIGA states:
...reminders are used as preventive activities for patients and do not have to be followed up if the patient does not reply or attend the practice, but it is recommended the reminder is noted in the patient’s medical notes.
Medicare locals say:
A reminder is usually for preventative care (but can also be for continuing care). Subject to variation at the doctor’s discretion. Examples may include: Immunisations; Mammography; EPC; HMR; Cholesterol; BP • There is no legal obligation to send reminders • Only patients who normally attend practice should receive reminders • It is sufficient to send one reminder, but you may want to send more or have a multi-pronged approach.
So nowhere, as you will see from the links below does it stipulate there is a certain number of times to contact the patient for reminders. Doctors should be discerning about what they put in as a “reminder” in the software as well, as once entered, there is an obligation to ensure it is followed up.
For recalls however, the standards have a specified expectation:
The number and types of attempts will take into account all of the circumstances. Depending on the likely harm to the patient, three telephone calls at different times of the day and follow up by mail to the address in the patient’s health record may be needed. These attempts at follow up need to be documented in the patient’s health record.
Appointuit provides another avenue for communication out to your patients (email and SMS), it is not designed to replace existing policies and procedures, but merely to provide tools which may provide better and more measurable outcomes (via our audit trail tools), and more cost and time efficient practices.
Each practice needs to determine how they are used.
I have attached some links that may help. if you have specific questions, you should direct these to your PHN, RACGP or other advisory body.