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Recall & Reminder Systems

Definitions

Register – a method of identifying patient populations based on specific criteria, often generated from clinical software databases. Registers may be used for prevention or management purposes.

  • Examples: Chronic disease registers, Age register, At-risk registers

Recall – a follow-up of clinically significant, urgent or abnormal test results.

  • Crucial that the patient attends the practice.
  • Examples: abnormal PAP result, elevated INR

Reminder – a notification for prevention or management purposes

  • Helps to manage screening and cycles of care
  • Helps to provide continuity of care
  • Examples: diabetes, immunisations, cervical screening

RACGP Standards

RACGP Accreditation 4th Edition Standards have several criteria relating to the use of registers, recalls and reminders.

Criterion 1.3.1 (Health Promotion and Preventive Care)

“Our practice provides health promotion, illness prevention and preventive care and a reminder system based on patient need and best available evidence.”

The RACGP requires a systematic approach to prevention and health promotion for patients, using registers, recall and reminder systems, incorporating protection for patient privacy and confidentiality.

Criterion 1.5.3 (System for Follow Up of Tests and Results)

“Our practice has a system for the follow up and review of tests and results.”

Practices should have a documented policy for the follow up and review of tests and results. At a minimum, this policy should incorporate guidelines on:

  • Under what circumstances or for which conditions a recall or reminder may be made
  • How often recalls/reminders will be prompted, along with tracking of recalls/reminders
  • Staff members accountable for each step of the follow-up procedure
  • Methods of notification and follow-up (letters, templates, email, SMS, phone calls etc)
  • Detail the systems for both recalls and reminders (may be illustrated with a flowchart)

“In a group practice, it is ideal for all GPs to have the same system for the follow up of tests and results. This consistency will ensure that all members of the practice team are fully aware of the practice system. If there are different follow up systems in place for different doctors in the practice, this needs to be very carefully documented to ensure the follow up of tests and results is managed effectively across the whole practice.”

Patient Consent

Criterion 4.2.1 (Confidentiality and Privacy of Health Information)

Explicit consent is not required for participation in practice-level registers for the purpose of prevention or management activities, however patients should be informed that the practice uses a recall and reminder system (via the practice information sheet or by a sign in the waiting room).

Criterion 1.3.1 (Health Promotion and Preventive Care)

Patients must be notified if the practice participates in state or national registers, such as ACIR or the Cervical Screening register, or that the patient be made aware they may opt out of such registers. Notification and options for participation may be collected on a “new patient form”.

Register, Recall and Reminder System Resources

For questions regarding registers, recalls and reminder systems, please contact your Primary Health Care Support Officer, or browse the following resources:

recalls and reminders