Great Examples of a Referral Strategy for Physician Relations
“No Flashy magazine ad or flashy sales ad can replace the value of a highly engaged physician referral network for your practice.”- Kelley Knott
To have a successful medical practice, many critical factors must be in play, and one of those factors is maintaining a strong patient base.
Attracting patients in need of your care can be challenging. But being the preferred specialist referred to by a colleague to take a patient for further treatment is something entirely different. That means the strategy, processes, treatment, and follow-up will be different as well.
Local physician referrals create a consistent stream of new patients for the medical practice and can be the lifeline of the medical practice the specialists.
This means building a highly engaged physician referral network is crucial to the success and growth of the practice.
The Benefits of A Highly Engaged Physician Referral Network
- A consistent flow of new patients
- Increase in patient base
- Improves patient care
- Increase in revenue
- Ability to scale your practice
There needs to be an active physician outreach campaign for your practice to maintain and build strong physician referral relationships.
For physician’s patient care is priority number #1. Utilizing a physician liaison or physician relations manager is the best way to ensure they are consistent touchpoints with referring practices.
Physician liaisons need to create an effective referral strategy to cultivate physician referral relationships and expand the referral network,
Identifying how to create an effective referral strategy takes creativity, action, and reliable follow-up.
Below are some of my examples of an effective referral strategy for a physician liaison.
1. Consistent Reporting
How can you possibly know where to go, if you don’t know where you started?
Before you even start marketing to doctors, make sure your practice, hospital system, and physicians have generated a report that includes the current referral landscape.
Running a practice audit will help you identify referral trends, lolls, top referrals, areas for improvement, and averages. Use the numbers and analytics in your audit to establish benchmarks and goals to measure and track the physician liaison marketing.
Here is an example of a small private practice EMR report used in building an effective physician liaison marketing program.
And here you can see the result from consist of reporting and analytics had the success of the program.
ENT Case Study
Make sure you are generating consistent reports to track the growth of the program and target new opportunities to add to your marketing plan.
2. Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan
Once you have captured the analytics, know your numbers, identified your targets, you can create a calculated marketing plan.
Your marketing plan will be the strategy created based on the information you collected, benchmarks, and the goals you set out to achieve.
Your marketing plan should target the practices and physicians you need to see and the territories that need to be covered.
The marketing plan should make it easy for individual or liaison teams to create consistent marketing and more impactful visits with direction.
Routing my territories and targets improved the productivity and efficiency of the liaison marketing and on average increased practice visits 15 more offices a week.
This increase is directly correlated with an overall jump in the medical practice visits resulting in a significant increase in patient referrals and revenue.
3. Marketing With Your Physician
The core of any physician outreach program is the physicians that you as the liaison represent. As physician liaisons, we are extensions of the practice, hospital, and physicians we represent.
To be a successful physician liaison, it needs to be evident and apparent the connection and relationship we have to our physicians.
Physician liaison marketing is about building genuine connections, and the more involvement and support your physicians have, the higher the success of the program.
A value you can provide a referring physician as a liaison is providing direct and seamless contact with the specialist. If you are able to bring your physician to referring doctors to engage, answer questions, discuss patient care, and thank them for referrals, you will see a DRASTIC increase in physician referrals.
You will also begin to absorb the information your physicians are presenting to use in your messaging moving forward. This includes terminology and vocabulary that will better enhance your message to make sure the information your communicating will convert referrals.
This is an example of a private practice that had active physician marketing with there liaison. Not only did they see 5x the growth, but they saw these results within 90 days.
4. Meet & Greets
Face to face time with the specialists and referring providers is always an amazing way to build that referral relationship.
Physician liaisons are familiar with lunches, but lunches raise their challenges. For one, they can lead to expensive marketing with catering food for entire practices just to get that face time with providers. Second, lunches can be long for both the providers and the referring practice and can require up to 2 hours of time. And lastly, the process of referral conversion can take some time.
That’s why I prefer to avoid lunches and schedule meet & greets between physicians. Meet & greets allow the physicians to meet face to face without the distraction of catering or staff. When the physicians have a meet and greet, they can speak candidly without the worry of staff interruptions or distractions, they also can meet at a scheduled time allowing them a brief meeting convenient to their schedules avoiding the lengthy lunches and keeping the meeting to 10 to 15 minutes.
In my experience the personal, brief, and candid meetings of meet greets allow for a more quality interaction that leads to a boost of physician referrals and the results are quicker.
Meet & Greet with a 15 physician Orthopedic Practice Representing an Infectious Disease Practice
5. Expand Your Reach
Are there areas that may be outside your main territories that present opportunities to increase high revenue procedures or referrals?
There may be areas of opportunity that may be outside your territories. This could be because of a lack of competition, or a particular specialty or service you can provide that is not offered, maybe the competitors are overbooked, whatever it is take advantage of ways to attract new referrals.
Utilize your professional network on Linkedin and explore the ways your connections can help make introductions for you.
You may be surprised where your connections can take you.
The key to an effective physician relations marketing is building a solid foundation and developing consistent and quality touch points.
Get creative and remember to develop a strategy building genuine relationships and work with your physicians!
by Kelley Knott
Kelley Knott is an expert Physician Liaison Trainer and consultant. Her passion is the help liaisons and practices maximize their effectiveness to improve patient care and revenue new revenue streams for their practice or hospital system. She is one of the first people in the US to develop online courses specifically geared toward physician liaison marketing. She is a published author, entrepreneur, and speaker.