The practice of marketing to doctors for referrals builds solid relationships among a network of professionals to help get patients the high-quality care they need. Here are nine best practices to consider as your build your network.
The basics of marketing to doctors for referrals
Marketing to doctors for referrals works to build connections among healthcare offices to provide the best care for all of your patients. The majority of doctors in practices of every size recognize the importance of referrals in building a sustainable practice. In one survey, 78% of physicians ranked doctor-to-doctor referrals as very or extremely important. For specialists, that number jumps to 87%.
Primary care physicians refer to specialists, and specialists might refer patients to another specialist or primary care physician. Further, there are a variety of reasons that even doctors in the same specialty refer patients to each other. Sometimes a practice is overwhelmed and cannot take new patients, and sometimes the practice isn’t a good fit.
For whatever reason, a physician referral network can be a valuable source of community among healthcare providers and new patients for everyone.
How to approach doctor’s office for referrals
Approaching another doctor’s office for referrals can be intimidating for many healthcare providers. The goal, though, is building genuine relationships. This way, you can both provide excellent patient care and build thriving practices for everyone involved.
Here’s how to get started.
Introduce yourself to new physicians or providers in the area
Remember the Welcome Wagon? In a time that seems far removed from where we are today, when a new family moved into the neighborhood, a designated committee of neighbors would knock on their door, maybe with a freshly baked cake or a bunch of flowers.
The same idea applies to marketing to doctors for referrals. Take the time to welcome new healthcare providers to your area with a note, or stop in to introduce yourself. Offer your support, either personally or professionally. Then, follow up in a couple months to see how they are settling in.
If you’re the newbie, meet the neighbors
Opening a new practice may feel threatening to other more established practices, but a well-timed friendly introduction can ease those fears. After all, your chiropractic clinic is not going to compete with the oncologist down the street, but you may be able to work together at some point.
Send a personal letter or friendly email, or better yet, have a member of your team stop by their practice.
While you want to initially cast a wide net when building a physician referral network, after a time you can be more selective.
Not all doctors are created equal. If you refer patients to a doctor and consistently get negative feedback, it may be time to re-evaluate that relationship. Continue to hone and improve the quality of your connections.
Creating a digital doctor referral marketing program
Creating your digital doctor referral marketing program starts with getting yourself out there, and then managing what you find.
Advertise your practice
Even if your team makes personal visits to all of the local physicians you can find, some will fall through the cracks.
Make it easy on referring doctors
Is it easy for doctors to refer patients to you? Do they have your card, or does your website have clear contact information? If the answer to these questions is “no,” then you have a little work to do.
Consider making a secure link to a referral form on your website for referring physicians, or add a dedicated phone line just for referrals. Doctors can leave the patient name and number on the line for your office staff to follow up on.
Use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool
A CRM system can make managing all aspects of patient data (including referrals) much easier. Many small practices feel like they do not need this tool, or that the time, expense, and learning curve is too steep to make it worthwhile. Don’t be fooled. The most successful practices of any size excel when it comes to managing patient information, with systems in place that require very little ongoing time and effort. It allows them to scale quickly and easily when those new referrals come flooding in.
Read the reviews, and take the time to select a CRM that meets your needs.
Following up with your physician referral network
As with every relationship, marketing to physicians for referrals requires time and attention. It’s important to follow up with your physician referral network to keep the connections strong.
Meet the referring doctor
If you receive a referral from a new doctor, take the time to not only send a thank-you note but to also have a member of your team stop in for a face-to-face meeting and a handshake if it’s the first one.
This can go a long way towards building a lasting relationship.
Update the referring physician
If a patient is referred to your physical therapy office after a car accident, chances are good their primary care doctor would like a report on their compliance and progress from time to time.
This can be a quick email or phone call at the end of a few sessions. This professional courtesy tells your network that you are committed to reciprocity and patient care.
Designate a referral ambassador
While it is collegial to do your best to meet fellow physicians, practically speaking it is more likely that an administrator in your office will follow up and be the one to do the day-to-day connecting.
Choose this person wisely, as they are representing you, your practice, and your philosophy.
Not sure how to start marketing to doctors for referrals, or just need a little digital marketing support as your network grows? Get in touch with Boost Medical today to see how we can help you grow your practice.