If you depend on physician referrals for new patients, will your colleagues — and their staff — remember you?
Whether you’re new to practice or established but facing local competition, you need to put effort into staying top of mind among practices that could send referrals your way.
You can connect with potential referring physicians by visiting their office to ask for referrals, or networking at county medical society meetings, for example. Reporting back to a referring physician thoroughly and promptly helps develop a good reputation that will put you at the top of that physician’s “preferred” list.
But don’t overlook practice staff. As explained in TMA’s new publication, Marketing Smart: A Guide for Medical Practices, Austin-based Lexicon Medical, a company that specializes in referral marketing nationwide, conducted a study in its target areas to determine who in a practice had the most influence on patient referrals.
It turned out physicians made referral decisions only about a quarter of the time.
- Forty-two percent of the time it was nurses and medical assistants.
- Thirty percent of the time it was referral coordinators.
Whether you engage in formal, ongoing marketing or use a more casual, “soft” marketing approach to building your referral base, don’t overlook these staff members. Connect with them, too.
- Find opportunities to interact with them, and get to know (and use) their names.
- Make sure your staff has a good working relationship them.
- Provide them useful information about your practice: map showing your practice location, hours, direct phone line, your National Provider Identifier, and the like.
The TMA website’s Find a Physician feature makes it easy for TMA members to find each other’s contact information, and for potential patients to find you, too. As a TMA member, you also can use DocbookMD, a secure platform, to send HIPAA-compliant messages bundled with photos of x-rays, EKGs, wounds, and more — just as if you were sending a text — to your physician colleagues.
Marketing Smart: A Guide for Medical Practices is available in the TMA Education Center.
For more marketing tips and information, visit TMA’s Marketing Your Practice and marketing e-tips webpages.
Published Aug. 11, 2017
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