As the cost of providing healthcare continues to rise, physician referrals have become increasingly important. This is especially true for specialists who largely rely on primary care physician’s referrals for their patients. While specialists can earn very impressive salaries, this is also dependent on their number of patients. However, the process of securing referrals is not always as straightforward as you might think. In order to ensure a steady flow of patients, doctors now must learn about marketing to referring physicians. Of course, providing high-quality care is the most important step to being successful. Yet, after this, there are many things that you can do to benefit your practice or hospital. If you are interested in gaining more referrals, find out how below!
What You Need to Know About Marketing to Referring Physicians
1. Build Relationships
While this tip may seem self-explanatory, it can be rather difficult. Physicians are busy after all. After spending long days at the hospital or office, the last thing you likely want to do is attend that networking event or lecture for physicians. However, doing so can have profound benefits to you and your practice. Of course, physicians are likely to do their own research as well, but you can’t be referred to if physicians do not know you. As you build your professional network you will be shocked by how many more referrals you receive.
2. Follow Up
Few things frustrate referring physicians more than being left out of the loop. At the end of the day, they are likely invested in the patient’s health as well. Providing consistent communication before and after appointments will make referring physicians feel much more valued and important to the process. Additionally, staying in contact will allow both you and the other physician to provide better care as you will both be fully aware of the patient’s history.
3. Get to Know the Staff
Ultimately, a referring physician’s support staff is likely to be responsible for helping to schedule the appointments. Typically, physician’s will provide the patients with a list of viable options for their patients to choose from. The staff is usually in a position to influence the patient’s decision further. When marketing to referring physicians, it is important to remember to market to their staff as well. Sending thoughtful gifts or just generally attempting to build relationships here as well can go a long way.
4. Solicit Feedback
When referring their patients elsewhere, physicians want to know that they are sending them to good hands. This means that it is important for referring physicians to trust your ability as a doctor. Much of this trust will be built based on the success of the referred patient’s experience. However, maintaining an open dialogue about how the referral process and patient’s treatment are perceived on the other end can help as well. Physicians will be able to communicate any concerns or compliments and will ultimately appreciate the dialogue. Similarly, their staff will communicate their perceptions of the referral process. Making this as easy as possible can only help increase your number of referrals.
5. Return the Favor
When possible, it can be extremely beneficial to return the favor of a referral. Of course, primary care physicians are more likely to be referring to specialists than the other way around. However, depending upon the situation there may be reasons to refer a patient back to one of your referral sources. Doing this can help to further develop your referral relationship. As you do this multiple times, referring physicians will be more likely to think of you first next time they need to refer a patient.
Ultimately, marketing to referring physicians can be extremely beneficial for you professionally. While gaining new referrals is a sure way to increase revenue, do not forget to protect your existing referral base. Although each of the tips above help secure new referrals, you should apply them to existing referral sources as well. Is there anything that has helped you when marketing to referring physicians? Let us know in the comments below!