Referring Physician Relationships are the key to long term practice Success!
Marketing to referring physicians is very effective for increasing patient flow, enhancing your reputation and image as the local expert, and enabling you to stay ahead of competition. You may not realize that you are in competition with every other specialist in your field in your market area, and your regular referring physicians are constantly being tempted to refer to someone else! Here are a few tips on protecting your territory and staying ahead of the pack…
Marketing to Your Referring Physicians is a 3-Part Process:
- Make yourself visible, known, and trusted within the local community through media relations and PR.
- Promote your expertise, not just yourself, by highlighting what makes your practice different from the others.
- Communicate well, quickly, and often to keep your name top-of-mind with referral physicians.
It is essential that you utilize a consistent process in developing new referring physician relationships. This will make your efforts more productive, and more manageable as you continue to develop these relationships. The most effective presentation to a new referring physician is done by the physician, however if that is not possible a qualified staff member can step in. Additionally, many practices actually hire practice representatives as full or part time employees. Remember, however, that this will usually not be as productive in terms of new patient referrals than a visit or a presentation by a doctor.
It is also important to utilize an organized follow up system after each new contact. Each potential referring physician you talk to should receive a personal follow up letter within a few days, and a follow up visit or post card within about 30 days.
Most referring physicians are very busy, often seeing 35+ patients per day. Although they may see the value that you may bring to their practice, after a while they tend to simply forget; consequently regular follow up is a must in order to maintain the relationship…
Your effective advertising program can also aid in your effort to enhance these referral relationships. Not only do your patients and prospects see your TV spots and print ads, but your referring physician’s see them also. This media exposure serves as a reminder to them that you are available to serve their patients also
As you treat the patients that are referred to you, always send the referring physician a letter that explains the exam or procedure their patient had performed, as well as an explanation of the outcome.
Referring physicians are indeed the backbone of a successful long term practice. If you take care of them…they’ll take care of you!