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The Importance of Follow-up

First of all know this. Doctors make subsequent or "follow-up" appointments because they “need to see you”. Need as in necessity. Meaning there is an indispensable need that follows a logical requirement for another evaluation and management of your ongoing condition. There may be several reasons for this.

To monitor your medications

To assess improvement or worsening of symptoms for continuity of care

To remove and/or apply dressings for wound managementto

To discuss diagnostic tests and develop a follow-up care plan

To check for reoccurrence

Physicians treat patients based on medical necessity and must have supporting documentation for your care. If there is no need for further treatment your Doctor will discharge you from the practice. Until then periodic appointments are essential to the desired outcome of your treatment and not following up with a scheduled appointment can compromise your care.

Don't be a No-Show

Post your appointments to a reliable scheduling system so as not to forget. If you choose not to keep a subsequent appointment be sure to notify your healthcare provider in advance. Patient’s who routinely miss appointments without notifying the office staff effect other patients who may have been waiting to schedule an appointment as well as staff efficiency resulting in wasted resources. Don’t be a “no show” (intended appointments that were not canceled or rescheduled). All healthcare providers would much prefer that you cancel your appointment or reschedule than just not show up. Most office staff and physicians would say that to forget is forgiven but habitual “no shows” (repeat offenders) create havoc in the schedule and time spent in additional documentation and concern regarding interruption of care.

A well-regarded physician schedules subsequent appointments because he/she needs to see you. Not for material reasons or to satisfy big drug companies by writing more prescriptions. If they do then you should find another healthcare provider and value their time as part of a healthcare team committed to caring for you.

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