Blog Recalls: The Powerful Tool for Continuous Care

Studies show automated recalls help patients adhere to treatment plans, boost appointment volume, and save staff time.

“Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.”
— Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop

Do you want to improve patient outcomes, but find it a challenge when they don’t follow their care plan? Once outside your clinic’s doors, patients can forget about their follow-up appointments and medicine refills. It’s easy for patients to fall through the cracks, especially when they lead busy lives. Thankfully, healthcare providers can use recalls as an effective engagement tool to improve patient outcomes.

What are recalls?

Recalls are reminder messages to make an appointment that’s emailed or texted to patients who are due for a visit or medicine refill. When a recall message is tailored to suit a patient’s needs, it makes them feel especially cared for, even when they aren’t physically at your clinic.

How to Make Average Recalls Great Again

The average recall is merely a reminder message; the patient is forced to take multiple steps to book their next appointment. A great recall message not only reminds the patient of their follow-up or refill, but also lets them book their next visit with minimum effort.

Average Recall Message Great Recall Message
  • Reminds the patient about their next appointment

E.g. “Dear John Doe,

Pls remember to schedule your next appt before 2 Nov 2020.

Thank you,
EndocrineCare Clinic
  • Reminds the patient why they need their upcoming appointment and/or medicine refill
  • When they should book their appointment
  • A link to book their appointment online

E.g. “Dear John Doe,

Your last dosage of metformin will be complete on 2 Nov 2020. Pls book your next endocrine appt for a check-up & refill before 2 Nov 2020 at

Thank you,
EndocrineCare Clinic

How effective are recalls?

Multiple studies conclude recall effectiveness across different patient types in both appointment and medication adherence (Schwebel et al., 2018).

Chronic disease patients, for example, may find it hard to stay committed to long-term care plans. In this instance, SMS reminders nearly double the odds of medication adherence (Thakkar et al., 2015). Specifically, a study on type 2 diabetes patients found that SMS recalls improve medical adherence and were well received among patients (Vervloet et al., 2012). Similarly, recalls help coronary heart disease patients commit significantly better to their care regimes (Zhao et al., 2019). Even in preventive care, text recalls improve the uptake of pediatric and adolescent immunisations in urban populations (Stockwell et al., 2012).

Recalls can support continuous care among patients. Unlike manual recalls that are tedious for staff to implement, automated recalls let healthcare teams efficiently manage continued care like clockwork.

Common use cases for recalls

Automated recalls save staff time and effort. The Allied Physicians Group, comprising over 150 physicians across 35 locations in New York, shared that using automated text and email recalls led to a US$5.2 million return on investment in recall visits. Staff also wasted less time on phone calls to patients.

Recall is “one of the most important systems that you can organise in your practice,” advise Denise Ciardello and Janice Janssen, co-founders of practice management consulting firm Global Team Solutions. The key to successful continuous care is to make recall scheduling a routine task for clinics, similar to making payments or a deposit. The majority of treatments are scheduled following a recall appointment, say Ciardello and Janssen. So it’s crucial for clinics to establish a reliable recall system that’s automated and easy to use for your team. Automation lays a solid foundation for ensuring clinics manage recalls regularly.

Automate recalls

In Plato, clinics can schedule automated dispensing-based and patient-based recalls. Dispensing-based recalls let you configure a recall schedule for any line item within your clinic’s inventory list. Three common use cases for dispensing-based recalls include:

  1. Preventive care—Doctors use recalls to remind patients about their follow-up consult following a surgery or for routine check-ups.
  2. Medical adherence—Patients with multiple prescriptions may find it hard to manually keep track of refills. Recalls minimise the odds of your patient missing their prescription refill.
  3. Procedures—Reminders for follow-up procedures help patients stay committed to full treatment plans. For instance, reminding a root canal patient to schedule their crown fitting post-surgery.
Patient-based recalls can be scheduled for complex patient cases that require multiple follow-ups by their specialist.

Start using recalls today

Plato simplifies continuous care for healthcare providers and their patients with automated recalls. Practitioners can provide the best care possible when everything they need is on one platform: Plato.

Plato for Specialists


  • Schwebel FJ, Larimer ME. Using text message reminders in health care services: A narrative literature review. Internet Interv. 2018 Jun 21;13:82-104. doi: 10.1016/j.invent.2018.06.002. PMID: 30206523; PMCID: PMC6112101.
  • Stockwell MS, Kharbanda EO, Martinez RA, Lara M, Vawdrey D, Natarajan K, Rickert VI. Text4Health: impact of text message reminder-recalls for pediatric and adolescent immunizations. Am J Public Health. 2012 Feb;102(2):e15-21. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300331. Epub 2011 Dec 15. PMID: 22390457; PMCID: PMC3483980.
  • Thakkar J, Kurup R, Laba T, et al. Mobile Telephone Text Messaging for Medication Adherence in Chronic Disease: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(3):340–349. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7667
  • Vervloet M, van Dijk L, Santen-Reestman J, van Vlijmen B, van Wingerden P, Bouvy ML, de Bakker DH. SMS reminders improve adherence to oral medication in type 2 diabetes patients who are real time electronically monitored. Int J Med Inform. 2012 Sep;81(9):594-604. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2012.05.005. Epub 2012 May 30. PMID: 22652012.
  • Zhao, Ya-Yun MDa; Dang, Fang-Ping MDb; Zhai, Tian-Tian MDb; Li, Hui-Ju BDb,∗; Wang, Rui-Juan MDb; Ren, Jing-Jie MDb The effect of text message reminders on medication adherence among patients with coronary heart disease, Medicine: December 2019 - Volume 98 - Issue 52 - p e18353. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000018353

December 2, 2020