To maintain the success of your practice, you want to keep growing your patient base. While traditional marketing efforts are certainly effective at reaching your audience, physician referrals are a popular and lucrative long-term approach to help you bring in new patients.
Other practitioners in your area likely have patients experiencing hearing issues or loss that they can refer to you. The best way to get those people in your door is to get your name out there and develop partnerships with neighboring physicians.
Physicians within your market likely have patients who are experiencing hearing loss or related problems. While you may already be leveraging print and digital marketing methods to reach patients directly, referral marketing is targeted toward physicians to form long-term partnerships
Physician referral marketing provides a number of advantages for hearing care providers:
Follow these best practices to have an effective and successful physician referral markting program:
You’ll be tempted to grab the phone book and start contacting every physician in your area, but it’s important to focus on the quality over quantity when it comes to referral partners. Consider your goals, identify prospective partners, and establish your plan for reaching out before getting started.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Remember that like with any marketing campaign, your referral efforts won’t produce desired results overnight. It pays to be diligent, yet patient, when it comes to putting your plan in motion and seeing it through.
From initial reach outs and beyond, technology can make the whole referral process simpler, streamlining the transfer of important information and saving your administrative staff time.
First, it’s important to keep your partner information organized. Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms allow you to store and update information for current partners, prospective partners, and other professional contacts. Additionally, CRM systems simplify the process of tracking where referrals came from. Between 25 and 50 percent of referring physicians don’t know whether their patient ever saw the specialist to which they were referred. Tracking this information and relaying it to respective partners will only benefit the relationship in the long run. You may know CRM as a patient management system you use to schedule appointments. Your existing platform may already have the capabilities to track referral contact information. If not, you can create your own internal solution – as long as you have all the information in one place, you’re in good shape.
Technology platforms are better for patient care and satisfaction as well. Research shows that dated technology hinders the quality of patient care. An estimated 80% of serious medical errors occur due to miscommunication between providers during transfer of care. Newer, more automated systems available today are able to integrate electronic medical records (EMR) directly for a smoother and more positive patient experience.
As mentioned above, it’s important to take a quality over quantity perspective when it comes to your referral partners. You want to ensure the patients they are sending your way are a good fit for your practice in terms of their medical history and specific hearing condition, as well as where they live and their health insurance policy.
Additionally, once a partnership has been made and the physician starts sending patients to you, it’s critical that they take special care and make it easy to transfer patient information back and forth. Nearly three-quarters (70%) of specialists say the patient information they receive from referring physicians is poor. This is not only frustrating for you as a provider, but also for patients who have to repeatedly explain their detailed medical history.
While referrals are an effective way to obtain new patients, that doesn’t mean you can abandon all other marketing efforts. It’s still worth your while to advertise to patients via email, social media, direct mail, or other channels with which you’ve found previous success. Track and analyze results you’re getting from every channel, and invest only in those that are driving more traffic into your clinic.
If physician referral marketing isn’t part of your existing toolkit, now is the time to get started. Building your network and growing your patient base will only have a positive impact on your practice. Start putting your plan together now and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time.