9 Ways to Stay Connected with Physician Referral Partners
You don’t typically get married after a 1st date—and a committed physician referral relationship doesn’t happen after a single visit. Establishing these relationships take multiple connections to earn a referral partners continued business. The referring provider, their care team and the patient they are entrusting in your care need to have a good experience with those on your side for the physician referrals to continue.
When I talk with referring providers, some of the top reasons referring providers say they prefer certain specialists over others include: (1) hassle-free interactions when scheduling a new patient consult, (2) dedicated placeholders in schedule to work in a referral partner’s ‘urgent’ new patients, (3) access via cell phone for in the moment | ’refer or not to refer’ consults, (4) strong patient experience followed by (5) prompt, digestible reports within 24-48 hours of consult.
While there is no substitute for working with your internal teams to creating hassle-free interactions, there are some other things that you can personally do to yield the strongest returns on the time you invested in the field.
9 tips specialists can use to stay connected with their physician referral partners:
1. Jot down something interesting you learned from each of your outreach encounters as well as one idea that you can use to follow-up & use to advance the relationship over time.
2. Send a handwritten thank you note within 48 hours of any introductory meeting that includes something specific mentioned or gained from their encounter together.
3. Set a reminder on your calendar to reach out at least once (via email, phone, text, in person) about a mutual professional (i.e. interesting journal article) or personal interest (i.e. where to play golf) to further establish rapport within 90 days of meeting.
4. Use the feedback & questions from your visits to develop an educational event such as a follow up lunch-&-learn or Continuing Medical Education (CME) event to help physicians in your market learn more about the cases you specialize in or specific treatment options.
5. Partner with your practice manager to monitor initial & repeat referral volumes over time.
6. Schedule time to make a brief phone call to any referring physician who sent you a patient for the 1st time. These calls can be prompted using a flag within your EHR system or using a bright sticky note when the patient is signed in.
7. Dedicate 1 day each quarter to get out of the office & make additional referral development visits to the top providers actively referring to you to thank them for their support. Make sure to use this time to understand how you can be a better partner to their practice.
8. Work with your office staff to visit with those who appear to have fluctuating referral volumes to better understand those fluctuations including any potential barriers to growth (i.e. access or experience issues).
9. Last but not least, make an effort to seek out & welcome any new providers joining your hospital medical staff &/or those outpatient providers being advertised as accepting new patients within your market.
What are you best tips for physician referrals? I’d love to hear them! Be sure to connect with me on Linkedin. To learn more about how Marketware can provide visibility into physician referrals, schedule a customized demo with one of our solution specialists.