How to Gain Referrals for Your Healthcare Practice
Your practice is busy. But is it busy enough? What are you doing to gain referrals? Read on for some ideas on how to gain referrals for your healthcare practice.
Consider patient attrition—the number of active patients that you lose from your practice. These departures can occur for a variety of reasons. For instance, people move and have to find a doctor in another area. They change jobs and the hours you offer are no longer convenient for them. Patients age and need different or more age-appropriate services. Pediatricians know this one well.
Whatever the reason, patient attrition is a given. If you are not actively soliciting new patients, your calendar will have more openings than it should. So, before that happens, let’s explore two avenues to gain referrals. One is from other physicians and the other, from your current patient base.
Physician referrals are a valuable way to grow your practice. But taking them—and those who provide them—for granted is a sure way to see them dry up. They must be nurtured and you must be proactive. That means actively growing your referral network and then keeping yourself at the top of the referrers’ list.
Gain Referrals From Physicians
Here are three strategies to strengthen your referral contact list.
- Network, network, network. Don’t assume that the physicians out there know about you and that you accept referrals. To gain referrals, you must build a relationship, especially since, according to MediGain Practice Management, healthcare providers prefer to send their patients to specialists they know, like and trust. Get to know those practices that are likely sources of patient referrals and then keep the connection open.
- Hire a physician liaison. If your practice is relatively new, you don’t have time to do the necessary networking or you’ve let your attrition rate increase to an uncomfortable level, a physician liaison can get you back on track. According to Physicians Practice, a physician liaison acts as the personal contact between the practice and those healthcare providers with whom you want to build a relationship. But this isn’t just a “drop off some cookies once a month” task. As your “face” to the other doctors, the liaison has to be knowledgeable about your practice and the types of services you provide.
- Make referrals easy. Did you know that 20% of patients don’t follow through with referrals? The reasons are varied, but the result is that you may be missing out on patients who are supposed to see you but don’t. Provide those doctors in your referral network information about your practice, such as the location, website, office hours, and other relevant information—a vast improvement over the patient receiving a scribbled note with your name and phone number!
Earn Referrals From Patients
Your patients love you. They tell you that all the time—and it’s great to hear it. But what would be even better is if they shared their positive feeling about you, your staff, and your practice with other people in the community. Word-of-mouth marketing is incredible powerful and go a long way in helping gain referrals. According to a 2015 Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83% of people surveyed noting that they trust the recommendations of friends and family.
Here are three ways you can increase the odds of your current patients becoming brand ambassadors for your practice.
- Ask for them. When your patient says, “I really appreciate that you [fill in the blank],” don’t just smile. Tell them that you are glad to have met their expectations. Then follow up with a request to share your name with others who might need qualified medical care. Provide the patient a brochure about your practice, with all relevant information included.
- Mention patient review sites. Doctor review sites such as Healthgrades and RateMDs are full of comments about doctors, but since people tend to complain more than they praise, there may be more negative than positive ones. But these comments matter, especially considering that the same Nielsen report, 66% of survey respondents said they trust consumer opinions posted online. Check how your practice is doing on those sites, and then ask your patients to share their reviews about the treatment they received on the sites. Make it easy for them: include the URLs of the rating site you’d prefer they use on your marketing materials.
- Stay in touch. Newsletters, social media, and an active blog are ways to keep lines of communication open with current patients. If the information is useful, relevant, and interesting, there is an excellent chance your patients will share it, too.
A healthy referral stream.
A steady stream of referrals from physicians and your current patient list will keep your practice financially healthy. It will also ensure that the new patients are receiving the expert care that they deserve. And isn’t that the goal of your practice?
Enlist a healthcare marketing team gain referrals
If you need to gain referrals, but could use some assistance, B63 can help. We are experts in strategic messaging, public relations, and brand management, serving practices, hospitals, and networks. An EDGE-certified, woman-owned business located in Southwest Ohio, B63 provides strategically focused creative solutions with a sharp eye on metrics and ROI.
Call us today at 937.490.4000 for more information or schedule a free consultation at: https://B63LineDrivesMarketingMovesPeople.as.me/.