How to use recalls (and what are they?)

Clint Beeken·

Recalls act as a reminder to get your patient back into the clinic. Often, at the end of a patient’s appointment, you’ll want to see the patient again. The patient won’t always want to schedule that next appointment right away though, and that’s where recalls can come in handy.

Why should I use them?

You want to provide the best care to the Patients that come into your clinic, and this might include: follow-ups after a long period of time; chasing down Patients to make sure they stay active with your clinic; or, even just to make sure you have plenty of Patients to fill out your days! Recalls can help out in all these situations, and some more too!

The most common use of Recalls would be to follow up after treatment in a number of months. Think of the recall as a reminder to your future self: that you need to call this person back, or that they need to come in for a check up. Perhaps a Type of recall for this one would be a simple “Phone Follow-Up”, instead of pushing for a new appointment. You’ll get this reminder for future self when you run the Recalls reports and that recall is due.

If you have many patients on bi-weekly schedules, it could be helpful to create a “Regular visit” recall, defaulting to 1 week. That way if reception can’t schedule a patient after an appointment, they can instead create a recall to act as a reminder to call or SMS the patient to follow up. Just make certain that you tick the patient as “recalled” after they’ve been booked in!

If you want to set up a treatment plan, you could create a series of recalls to cover each of their planned appointments, and then tick off each one as they actually schedule and attend an appointment.

Page displaying a list of recalls by date.

Recalls settings page

Light bulb

Bonus tip:

This way you can catch someone who might have slipped off their plan.

How do I use them?

Firstly, you’ll want to make sure you have the right Recall Types that you need for your clinic. We supply you with two default Types: Return Visit (duration length: 6 months), and Return Visit Soon (duration length: 1 month). While you can use these defaults, you can also set up as many different Types as you like, in Settings → Recall Types.

Now, to create a Recall for a Patient. Patients often will “umm and ahh” about their next availabilities, not committing to a return date. If your Patient has no upcoming appointments, then you will want to remind yourself, or your reception team, that they will need an upcoming appointment. This is where it’s the Recall’s time to shine!

Arrow pointing to a button that adds a new recall.

Add new recall

Head to the Patient Details page for this particular person, and you’ll find the Recalls link in the grey sidebar. Jump in there, and add the new Recall. While we’ll respect the duration length of the Recall Type you choose, you can even change the exact date for the recall at this particular time. Save that new Recall, and move on with your day.

Now you’ve set up your Recall Types and have been adding them to Patients, you’ll need to know who to recall and when! This is where you run your report, inventively titled “Recalls” in the Reports area, to find out who to recall. Best use of this report would be to run this report weekly, with the dates set to the current week. This will show all Recalls planned for the current week, whether they were entered last week, or 6 months ago!

We also have some basic Patient Details on that report, so you can use that report as a home base to start calling, texting, or emailing your Patients, so that you can get them back into the clinic ASAP.

After you’ve made contact, you can mark the Recall as “recalled”, and move on to your next task!

Development History

Recalls were a much requested feature before we implemented the development on May 26, 2015. There were many other ways of managing this task before the release of this feature, too!

One of the ways that Recalls were managed before our release was via our awesome MailChimp integration. MailChimp have “automations”, which means that they can send out emails based on a certain trigger, or event. One of the fields that we push to MailChimp is “Last Appointment Date” and people would set up their automated emails to go out, for example, 3 months after the Last Appointment Date. If the Patient never got to the 3 month mark, then that was a sign of good retention!

Our Patients Without Upcoming Appointments report was also somewhat handy before this feature was released. That report would list out all Patients who had no more appointments coming up. When we released a Date Range filter on that report, we thought that would help out, but it was still missing key functionality that our current solution solves.

Finally, we released Recalls this year, and while it doesn’t have the automation rules that we would love to add, we thought that it would be best for Cliniko clinics to have Recalls as it currently stands than to not have it at all!


Have you checked out your Recalls function in Cliniko yet? Jump in there! Make some Types, recall some Patients, and bump up that retention rate for your clinic! If you want some more advice on how to use it, check out our support site.

Author information

Clint is one of our rockstar support team. He's pretty awesome but hasn't written us a bio for this profile, and we have to hit a 140 character limit.

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