Skip to main menu Skip to main content Skip to footer content

The Brevium Blog

Modes of communication

Patient Reactivation 101: Strategies and Tools

  • May 31, 2024

Does your practice spend loads of time and resources marketing to new patients while struggling to retain its current patient base? If so, patient reactivation may be the missing link in your patient engagement strategy. Patient reactivation should play a crucial role in marketing strategies for practices looking to fuel organic practice growth and drive revenue, yet these efforts often take a backseat to new patient acquisition. There’s no question that acquiring new patients is critical to the success of your business, but reactivating and retaining your lost or overdue patients is just as important. In fact, practices not only have higher odds of winning back lost patients as opposed to turning new leads into loyal customers, but customer reactivation is a much cheaper process, with new patient acquisition costing five to 25 times more than reactivating an existing patient. Healthcare professionals understand losing patients is costly for all parties involved and that allowing their patients to remain inactive means diminished health outcomes for the patient and lost opportunities for the practice. This guide aims to provide you with the most effective tools and strategies that have been proven to help patient reactivation campaigns be successful—ultimately allowing your practice to unlock revenue potential and improve patient care. 

Why are Patient Reactivation Campaigns Important?

Often confused for patient recalls or reminders, patient reactivation is the process of identifying lost or overdue patients without a future appointment scheduled and employing outreach strategies to win them back. This inactivity could be for many reasons including relocation, insurance changes, switching providers/practices, or even failing to schedule a follow-up appointment. Coined the “safety net” for if your reminder or recall efforts fail, patient reactivation ensures your patients don’t slip through the cracks and stay there. Most practices are clueless to the number of patients inactive in their databases and therefore don’t prioritize patient reactivation as they should. However, patient reactivation is one of the best ways to organically grow your practice and build a strong foundation for future growth and sustainability. Practices often reactivate patients with three common goals in mind: 1) driving practice growth and revenue; 2) increasing appointment volume; and 3) providing higher-quality care for patients. 

Additional benefits of patient reactivation include:

  • Boosts practice revenue and ROI
  • Elevates patient satisfaction and overall healthcare experience
  • Increases patient compliance leading to better health outcomes
  • Fills providers’ schedules 
  • Lessens administrative burden 
  • Improves patient-provider relationship
A group of electronic devices

Description automatically generated

Best Strategies for Effective Patient Reactivation

Successful customer reactivation requires more from your practice beyond sending generic reminders and recalls. While there are many different opinions as to how to reactivate old patients successfully, the following list of strategies have not only been proven effective through extensive research and data analysis, but also through Brevium’s customers who see stellar returns by applying these strategies daily. Here are four strategies your practice can implement to effectively re-engage its lost patients and get them back through the door:

Determine Goals & Segment Patients 

Once you’ve identified patients ready for reactivation, determine the focus and direction of your reactivation campaign and segment patients accordingly. There are many ways you could segment your patients: diagnosis/condition, insurance carrier, last treatment date, no-shows or cancellations, and much more. Segmenting patients into groups with similar care needs or characteristics helps practices avoid the critical mistake of trying to reactivate all their inactive patients at once and instead, helps practices design their patient reactivation campaigns around which segments will help them meet their current goals. Is your goal to reactivate patients who no-showed or cancelled appointments and never re-scheduled? Perhaps you want to drive surgical revenue by targeting patients with specific diagnoses that will likely need procedures? Maybe you want to prioritize high-risk patients with threatening conditions? Patient segmentation sets up your patient reactivation campaign for success by allowing your practice to reactivate its highest-priority patients and efficiently book them into the schedule. Consider using a patient reactivation software to help your staff identify and segment overdue patients; after all, having advanced tools and capabilities at your disposal streamlines a usually tedious process and allows your staff to prioritize other important tasks.   

Leverage Multi-Channel Communication

Effective customer reactivation cannot be done without utilizing multi-channel communication. Depending on your patient demographics, your inactive patients may be more likely to respond to one form of communication versus another. Brevium conducted a study in 2019 that analyzed the factors driving lost, overdue, high-risk and absentee patients to return for essential care. The results were indisputable: making four to five contact attempts using multiple communication channels over an extended period of time can increase a practice’s patient reactivation rates by 81 percent. Further, Brevium also found that using just three different communication channels in your outreach strategy will reach more than 95 percent of your inactive patients.  

Personalized Communication

Personalized communication is one of the best ways to turn your inactive patients back into loyal customers. Rather than sending generic reactivation messages that are questionably relevant to your patients, your practice should tailor its outreach based on patients’ unique needs and diagnoses. Leveraging their medical histories and communication preferences, your practice can meet patients where they’re at and craft a personalized healthcare plan that will entice patients to return for treatment. The following are ways your practice can personalize its communication for greater patient return:

  • Reference Previous Treatment: Referencing previous appointments, treatments or diagnoses will help your patient know why you are contacting them to return for treatment.
  • Personalize the Message: Keep the messages relevant to the patient. For example, practices could customize the messages to include information on what type of appointment they need to return for (preventative screening, follow-up, maintenance, etc.), which provider they’d see, which location to visit, and why further treatment is important. 
  • Utilize Patient Preferences: Leverage patient history to communicate through their preferred channels. If you’ve never sent communication to them or they don’t have a preference, utilize multi-channel communication to ensure they are being reached. 
  • Address Barriers and Concerns: Acknowledge and address patient concerns preventing them from returning to treatment. There are many different potential barriers that could affect your patients’ healthcare journeys: they can’t afford treatment/insurance change; they misunderstand their diagnoses and the best course of action; lack of communication with providers; and more. Addressing these barriers and concerns will help your patients feel more valued and less like another number in the system. 

Utilize Patient Reactivation Technology

With most practices having thousands of inactive patients per provider, effective patient reactivation campaigns become invaluable for practices looking to drive organizational growth and enhance patient health outcomes. Sadly, many practices do not have the time nor manpower to properly perform manual reactivation, causing them to leave countless opportunities on the table. However, modern advancements in healthcare technology now allows practices to utilize patient reactivation software to help them both streamline and optimize a time-consuming process. Here are four benefits to implementing patient reactivation technology: 

  • Streamlines Workflows: Manual reactivation is a long and difficult process, but patient reactivation software alleviates this stress by eliminating unnecessary steps and automating most of the reactivation process. With the software performing repetitive tasks such as identifying patients, segmenting them, performing outreach, and evaluating results, your practice increases productivity and efficiency while reducing the risk of staff error. 
  • Reduces Staff Effort: Patient reactivation software will automate the outreach process, allowing your staff to spend their time on other important matters. With Brevium, the system will identify lost patients based on your set patient criteria, perform outreach and follow-up, and measure success without your staff even needing to log in to the system. 
  • Instant Feedback: Administrators no longer need to spend valuable time manually collecting and making sense of patient data and reactivation results. Instead, patient reactivation software like Brevium will automatically generate reports and offer instant insight that leads to informed decision making. 
  • Boosted Revenue and ROI: Patient reactivation software specializes in returning your inactive and overdue patients back to your office quickly and efficiently, leading to increased appointment volume and boosted revenue. With the software sending out thousands of contacts to your overdue patients daily, your odds of successful reactivation increase when you implement technological solutions—ultimately, leading to improved ROI and practice growth. 

Measuring Success of Reactivation Campaigns

Planning and executing a customer reactivation campaign is only part of the process—you must not forget to measure your success. Tracking your campaign’s progress and identifying areas for improvement provides insight for informed decision-making, allowing your practice to adjust course and set goals for optimized performance and improved results; further, your metrics will also help your staff celebrate achievements and know which aspects of your campaign work. The importance of tracking patient reactivation metrics cannot be understated; without them, gauging the effectiveness of your campaign becomes much more difficult, preventing your practice from making needed adjustments that will ultimately improve your campaign’s success. The following are key metrics your practice should track to measure the success of your efforts:

  • Contact Attempts – the number of contacts sent to your inactive patients.
  • Outreach Methods – communication channels used for contacting inactive patients (i.e. phone calls, auto calls, text/SMS, emails, postcards).
  • Patient Type – patient type or “reason” targeted for reactivation (i.e. diagnosis or condition, billing codes, insurance, provider, location, no-show or cancellation, last treatment date, etc).
  • Appointments Scheduled & Kept – total number of appointments scheduled and how many patients attended those appointments. 
  • Patient Conversion Rate – percentage of patients reactivated compared to contacts sent.  
  • Revenue Generated – total amount of money generated by reactivated patients. 
  • Return on Investment (ROI) – money generated by inactive patients versus money spent to reactivate them.
A computer with graphs and charts on it

Description automatically generated

Overcoming Challenges in Patient Reactivation

Just like your patients have individual care needs, they also have unique life circumstances that often prevent many of them from complying with needed treatment. While there are many reasons and possibilities for why your patients might be quick to disengage and slow to return, this list covers some of the most common challenges preventing effective patient reactivation and how your practice can turn them into potential opportunities: 

Health Literacy

    Patients who do not understand the importance of continual treatment or preventative screenings are less likely to be engaged in their own healthcare. This misunderstanding isn’t always their fault. Studies show that health literacy correlates with health equity, with factors such as race, ethnicity, language, age, education, location, and income severely affecting health outcomes and patient engagement levels. The results of these studies suggest that an estimated one-third of American adults lack health literacy skills needed for true patient engagement and because of this disparity, these patients are twice as likely to experience poor health outcomes. What is the solution for this? Deliver information to your patients in a way they can understand and give them the best information for contacting you with any questions. If you can ensure your patients have 1) received the correct information and 2) understand the information to where they can make educated decisions, your patients will become more engaged in their healthcare and more confident in their decision-making. 

    Technological Barriers or “Digital Divide” 

      Your patient reactivation campaign will likely include automated outreach using your practice’s vast communication network. However, not all patients are tech-savvy, and some don’t even have access to all the communication channels. Whether your patients can’t afford technological solutions, don’t have access to technology or just don’t know how to use the technology they do have, this becomes a barrier for customer reactivation. Luckily, practices can overcome this challenge by making the digital options they do have user-friendly. When your technology solutions are patient-friendly and easily navigable, your inactive patients with limited technology experience can benefit from the same tools as your other patients. Likewise, your practice can utilize multi-channel outreach to include phone calls and direct mail to ensure communication reaches your inactive patients regardless of technological barriers. 

      Managing Patient Resistance

        Many practices tend to give up on their inactive patients if they don’t respond to the first few contact attempts. While it may seem like a waste of time and resources to keep pursuing overdue patients that won’t respond to reactivation attempts, Brevium finds that this is not the time to give up. In fact, the previously mentioned ALOHA Study finds that patient reactivation success significantly increases when practices make at least six contact attempts using various communication methods over an extended period of time. In most cases, your contacts may not be reaching your inactive patients at the right time or through the best channel, emphasizing the need to utilize varied outreach approaches over time. Be sure to include an “opt-out” option in your automated messaging for patients who have moved on and no longer want to be contacted by your office. 

        The Brevium Advantage: Utilizing Innovative Technology for Patient Reactivation

        Brevium is the leader in patient reactivation technology for a reason. This patented software solution is specially designed to optimize the reactivation process, allowing practices to simultaneously keep their patients compliant while accessing the untapped revenue dormant in overdue patients. The following features offer a comprehensive view of how Brevium’s unique patient reactivation solutions can transform the patient journey, leading to improved retention rates and significant growth for your practice:

        • Integration & Data Mining: Brevium estimates that about 25 percent of a practice’s total patient base is overdue for essential care; yet, most practices don’t have effective patient reactivation strategies in place to identify these lost patients and win them back. This is where Brevium comes in. Brevium is purpose-built to help practices identify their overdue patients and use customized solutions to help each individual practice exceed their goals. After seamlessly integrating with your practice management system, Brevium uses its patented data mining solutions to find and segment patients based on unique identifiers including disease state, provider, location, insurance, treatment history, referrals, and much more. The system will then use automated outreach methods to contact and reactivate your lost patients for you through various mediums including staff calls, auto calls, texts, emails, and postcards. These data mining tools are not just unique but patented, with no other software solution able to dig as deep into your data or customize the reactivation process like Brevium. 
        • Brevium Connection: The Brevium Connection is a free installation and integration with your practice management system that provides a preliminary audit of how many inactive patients are dormant in your database. Most practices have no idea of true number of overdue patients in their system because of insufficient reporting tools. But with the Brevium Connection, practices receive an in-depth evaluation of: 1) total number of inactive patients sorted by provider and disease state; 2) providers’ scheduling availability; 3) how many patients might return; and 4) predicted revenue and ROI from reactivating these patients. This tool is incredibly useful for practices who want to see their reactivation potential before committing to a new software. 
        • Brevium Stitch: One of the biggest reasons patients slip through the cracks is practices switching management systems. Manual data migration is a tedious task that requires loads of time, money, effort, and often, outside expertise. However, effective patient reactivation isn’t possible without sufficient patient data and sadly, only patient names and demographics won’t cut it. With Brevium Stitch, growth and change no longer equate to patient loss. Brevium’s patient reactivation software can stitch or merge your former management system to your new one, resulting in one seamless file of patient history. Through the Stitch, practices gain access to old data such as disease profile, appointment history, billing history, former providers, and additional information that is imperative to the customer reactivation process. This lost information is not only helpful, but necessary for segmenting and identifying patients ready for reactivation. 
        • Busyness Report: This unique Brevium report allows providers to efficiently book reactivation patients into their schedules. Many providers assume they are too “busy” to see more patients, leaving room for assumptions and opinions to hinder practice growth. Brevium’s Busyness Report debunks these claims and instead, provides an in-depth, data-driven report that shows practices the true “busyness” of their providers. This report works in tandem with your patient reactivation campaign by showing practices which providers could see these lost patients without overwhelming their schedules. By integrating with your practice management system, Brevium reports on weekly appointment volume by provider, new patient ratio, no-show rates, average time between scheduling and visit, overbooking statistics, and appointments per hour. Ultimately, this unique tool fits seamlessly into Brevium’s patient reactivation strategy, allowing practices to make educated decisions on practice growth.  
        A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generated

        How It Works

        The following flow chart offers a comprehensive view of Brevium’s automated patient reactivation approach, demonstrating how Brevium streamlines the outreach process to enhance patient retention and drive practice growth:

        A diagram of a diagram of a patient

Description automatically generated with medium confidence


        Patient reactivation isn’t just another engagement strategy—it’s a conscious shift to prioritizing and valuing the patients you already have alongside those you’ve newly acquired. Re-engaging lost patients is vital for practices and patients alike; after all, practices rely on patient retention and repeat business for continued growth and success. By implementing the most effective patient reactivation strategies and consistently tracking your campaign’s success, your practice will not only witness significant organizational growth and boosted revenue, but patients will experience enhanced health outcomes and increased satisfaction with their treatment journeys. Though this process can be daunting, it’s certainly made easier through comprehensive software solutions such as Brevium—a patented tool purpose-built to streamline the patient reactivation process and fill your schedule with high-priority patients. Contact Brevium for a free demo to discuss your practice’s reactivation goals and design a campaign that meets your needs.