5 Tips for Getting More Referrals for Your Medical Practice
Mercer Island, WA
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Whether you want more patients for your pain clinic, hospice or oncology practice, here are 5 tips to increase your referrals. The basic strategy is to notice your successes and build on them, just like The Hard Rock Cafe did.
1. Think referrals. Just as the care of patients contributes to good clinical outcomes, so, too, attention to referrals contributes to good business outcomes.
2. Identify trends. If you're like most organizations, about 80% of your referrals come from about 20% of your sources. What are they? Possible sources include primary care practices, internet searches of web-savvy families, clergy, former patients, your staff and volunteers. You may even have champions at the nail salon, gym or hairdresser.
3. Get specific. If a patient says, "I found you on the Internet," ask, "Exactly what keywords did you enter?" Call the five referral source and say, "Whom can we thank for thinking of us?"
4. Say thank you. Write a personal note and let this person know how much you appreciate the referral. Ask, "How can we do even better?"
5. Reproduce success. Find out what your major referral sources want and need, and deliver even more value. Host a journal club for primary care doctors about pain management. Put tips on your web site for family caregivers. Offer to give a talk at your church, synagogue or PTA.
Don't be shy about asking for referrals; you can do it with high levels of professionalism. Just say, "We appreciate the chance to work with our patients. If you know anyone who could benefit from our expertise, please pass along our name."
Vicki Rackner MD is a former surgeon who helps medical practices grow by clearly articulating their value. She's an author, speaker and nationally noted expert in doctor-patient-caregiver collaboration. You may have seen her quoted in CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, Reader's Digest, Bottom Line Health, Woman's Day, Real Simple, to name a few. You may have heard her interviewed on NPR, Martha Stewart Living or Health Talk. Dr. Rackner offers practical solutions to common perplexing problems. Reach her at (425) 451-3777.