1. Get in front of them: It is essential that referring providers know that you value their referrals. They have many options as to where to send their patients when a specialist is needed. Make the effort to have a liaison from your practice visit their office occasionally. Speak with the provider, their nurse or their front office staff and make sure the referral process is easy for them. They’ll appreciate that you took the time to touch base with them. These occasional visits help to cultivate and maintain the referral relationship that will keep your patient pipeline full.
2. Say Thank You:It sounds so simple, but demonstrating your appreciation for referrals from other medical providers goes a long way. It has been said that if you demonstrate your appreciation the right way on the first physician referral, the referring doctor is 5x more like to refer to you again. A hand-written “Thank you for the referral” note goes a long way.
3. Get their patients seen quickly when needed: Make sure your liaison emphasizes to your referring physicians that they will always try and get their patients in quickly in urgent situations. Encourage your liaison to call from the referring physician’s office – while they are there – to help accommodate one of their patients if needed. Of course, it may not always be possible, but demonstrating your commitment to treating their patients with the same care and compassion that they do means a lot.
4. Treat their patient with care and compassion: This goes without saying, but good to remember that the referred patient will always go back to the doctor that referred them and let them know about the care they received. If their patients get appointments easily and are happy with the care they received, their referring physician will continue to trust that you a reputable specialist to refer to.
5. Participate in as many insurances as possible: Again, this goes without saying. Accepting most major insurances, along with providing quality care, will quickly move you to the top of the preferred list.
6. Make sure your online presence is polished and your online reviews are good: Your online reputation as a physician is crucial. Both patients AND referring physicians and their staff may go to the Internet to learn more about you and your practice. It is important that you are proactive in ensuring that there are positive reviews on the top physician review sites (Ratemds, Vitals and Healthgrades, to name a few) by soliciting positive feedback from satisfied patients.
7. Return the favor: Offer your referral source a referral that might be useful. Perhaps a patient self-refers to you and doesn’t have a PCP. This is a great opportunity to make a recommendation and can help to solidify an existing referral relationship.
8. Ask for Feedback: Getting direct feedback from those referrers you depend on is crucial. A Physician Liaison can be very helpful here. They may uncover an opportunity to learn how referring provider feels about your services and the benefits you offer their patients. Plus, by asking for feedback and making necessary modifications, you demonstrate your commitment to providing them and their patients the best experience possible.
Use these 8 tips to maintain and strengthen your referral relationships and you will see a direct return on your marketing investment and build a network that will provide a steady stream of patients for your practice for years to come.