For many physicians, especially specialty practitioners, building a profitable medical practice requires building strong referral relationships with other doctors. For those who love to rub elbows this can be a very easy and fun marketing activity. For others, building a database of referring physicians is not fun and may even be intimidating. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.
How to Build a Referral Network to Support Consistent Flow of Patient Referrals to Your Practice
The very first thing you need to do before building a network of referral sources for your medical practice is to create a list of every potential referral source for your practice. Next, narrow the list down to those physicians who currently refer to your practice most often. Also include any prospective referrers with high referring power. Then, apply the following techniques to the physicians on your list.
Building a network of physician referral sources begins with professional networking. The truth is physicians refer to other physicians that they like, trust, and respect. Basically, they refer to physicians that they have positive feelings about, and it’s your job to make that happen. Several ways to make networking with a potential referral source simple would be to invite your prospective referral source to attend a seminar, send a referral source a letter of introduction with an invitation to visit your practice, or if you discover common interests with a potential referral source –- participate in them together.
The key to success in professional networking rests on your ability to nurture the connections you make. Personal and professional relationships require time and attention to maintain and grow, so make the time to give attention to the people who refer to you. You will reap the benefit tenfold.
If you master professional networking and increase the number of physicians referring to your practice, you could boost your bottom line dramatically.
Marketing to Referring Physicians & Their Staff
Don’t forget that when it comes to healthcare marketing, it is equally as important to market to prospective patients as it is to market to referring physicians. The goal in marketing yourself and your practice to other physicians and their staff is to create in them a top of mind awareness with respect to your practice. To accomplish this, you must make contact with these target physicians briefly but often.
The easiest way to remind referring physicians and their staff of your practice is through email marketing and social networks. Make this contact, quick, fun, and often. For example, e-mail a 3 question pop quiz about your specialty or practice to your referring physicians and their staff and offer a gift card to the one person who answers them all correctly within a specified time period. Quick and fun marketing tactics like these will have the referring office talking about you and your practice all of the time.
Make it Easy to Work with You and Your Office
If you implement the strategies above you will definitely generate additional referrals for your medical practice. Now, you must focus on keeping them. The three following practices will ensure that you keep the referral sources you obtain.
1. Report back to the referring physician about their patient quickly. Basically, never let the referred patient get back to the referring physician before you do.
2. Assist the referring physician with any paperwork that you might share. For example, take a moment to write all of the Rx’s affiliated with your treatment and leave them in the patients chart so that the referring physician doesn’t become burdened with the responsibility.
3. Refer back to your referring physician. When you see a patient with an undesignated primary care physician, or obtain a patient that is new to the area, tell them about your referring physician’s practice. Remember, it is in giving that you receive.
Above all, strive to develop a strong and positive rapport with your referring physicians. By making it easy for them to work with your office, and by building solid relationships, these physicians will want to do business with you and help you grow your medical practice.
Do you have any unique ways that you build referrals? If so, let us know in the comments section below!
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