Long Term Follow-Up
Consistent LTFU demonstrates commitment to quality patient care. In order to raise the LTFU rates for all VQI centers, high performing centers are eligible to receive a VQI participation award and be acknowledged in SVS/PSO publications.
Suggestions from high-performing VQI sites on how to improve your LTFU include:
- A physician champion is critical to the success of LTFU. The physician champion communicates to his/her VQI team that LTFU is essential for good patient care and improved outcomes.
- Report cards that display the center’s current LTFU rate and track improvement should be provided weekly or monthly to the VQI team. Report cards might also include lists of VQI patients who are due or past due for a follow-up visit.
- Some sites have tied hospital credentialing and staff evaluations/raises to the success of achieving LTFU of 80% or greater.
A VQI site that has 100% LTFU provided these tips for improving results:
- Start reviewing electronic records at the 9-month post-procedure time point
- Send a list of patients who need a follow-up appointment to office staff
- Key is to make a follow-up appointment at the time of the surgical procedure
- If the patient will not be returning for an appointment, call at home. Calling outside of work hours is often successful
- Call the emergency contact in the medical record, if unable to reach the patient directly
- Internet Search- patient’s name and city will bring up obituaries, new addressed or other family members to contact
- Email the patient if the address is given in the medical record.
- Call the patient’s place of work as a last resort.
- While follow-up must occur within the 9-21 month window to receive credit for appropriate LTFU, collection of follow-up data outside of the window still provides value to accessing the overall care of the patient and should be recorded when possible.
Links to further LTFU information: