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.
Below are some suggestions from high-performing VQI sites on how to improve your LTFU:
- 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 (see how to run a report in Appendix). 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: