By Sanjeev Bhatia, MBA, PT
Acquiring doctor referrals can be a smart marketing tactic that reaps very profitable rewards for your clinic. In fact, once you get doctors on board you can see a never ending stream of new patient referrals coming your way.
But when it comes to doctor referrals, most clinic owners or clinicians find it difficult to do.
Without a doubt it can be a challenge at first. But it is well worth the effort.
So let’s talk about some strategies to get doctors on your side.
5 Easy Ways to Gain Doctor Referrals
#1: Ask your patients who their doctor is and send them letters.
Your current patients give you an easy way to form a connection and get the channels of communication open with doctors.
First you need to get your patients permission to send an introductory letter to their doctor. And once you have that, reach out to the doctors to communicate with them about the patient’s progress.
Write something like this:
Hi Dr. Bradley,
I have been seeing a number of your patients lately and would like to meet personally so I can find out more about you and your practice. I am always looking for a great doctor we can send patients to for x rays and medical issues.
Can we arrange a time to meet up?
Please contact me:
I look forward to your reply.
At the bottom of the letter include a PS that provides an explanation of who they should refer patients to in future.
#2: Send reports to doctors.
Keep doctors involved in the entire patient journey by sending them patient reports.
Ask them whether they want the reports hand written, typed or emailed to their EMR.
When sending reports to doctors, always under report, so when the patient shows up and is doing exceptionally better, they will think very highly of you.
Another thing to be aware of is that most people send initial letters but don’t send discharge letters. Start sending the doctors discharge letters because it shows patients have graduated. On the other hand, if they self-discharged, write a letter to the doctor to let them know why they are self-discharging. For instance, is it money or motivation?
When sending reports, keep your letter short and to the point with goals. Show your multi modal approach including a holistic approach (sleep, food, general health) because this will give the doctor an update to save them time finding out about you.
#3: Know why the doctor should refer to you.
What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) above the competition?
If you don’t know how to work your USP out, find more info over here.
This is the message you need to convey to those doctors so they understand exactly why you are the best person to refer to.
Do you specialize in a niche that nobody else can do?
Do you offer free phone consults or offer group sessions to help lower costs (ie $20 for rotator cuff sessions)?
Some USP examples include:
- You can solve their #1 challenge with physiotherapy (back pain patients etc)
- Years of experience
- Your location is convenient to patients
- See the same therapist
- The doctors or surgeons you work with are experts
- You direct bill to patients so its makes it really easy for them
- You can solve a particular patient problem
#4: Focus on the NEW doctors in your neighborhood.
The next step is to focus on the doctors that are closest to you. It makes sense to both them and the patients if a clinic is located nearby. And you want to get in the door before everybody else.
In particular, stay on the lookout for any new doctor offices opening in your area. Or, new doctors moving into doctor offices.
What do you think is the biggest pain point for a new doctor?
They are not well connected and they are looking to build a busy caseload. They are also looking for you so they can refer to you (especially if you are good with patients) because it makes them look good in front of their patients.
But, they don’t want to have to go looking for you, so it’s up to you to make it easy for them by reaching out and making the connection.
Next time ask the office manager: “Any new doctors joining the practice?” Or you can also look for medical offices in the new real estate developments.
Even better, send a few patients from your practice over to the new doctor and get them busy.
The only time this will be a big waste of time is if they have a really good referral source already. For instance, their wife is a physiotherapist, their best friend is a chiropractor or they own a rehab clinic next door.
If that’s the case, move on to another doctor.
#5: Ask for the business.
Ask and you shall receive!
There’s no use you being timid and beating around the bush, so you have to directly ask for the business.
Say something like this:
“I know it’s risky to try a new physiotherapy provider as each referral is a direct reflection of you and your office. However, you have quite a few patients that would benefit from our style of therapy. All I ask is for you to send us 5 referrals in the next month and give us an opportunity to show you how good we are. The results will speak for themselves. How does that sound?”
You’ll find a percentage of people will be happy to accept this invitation. And then you make it easy for them to send you the referrals by educating them about who to send.
Also suggest that if they are unsure, they can ring or get the front desk to ring anytime and you’d be happy to help.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally a physiotherapist, Sanjeev Bhatia spent 10 years being at the forefront of running and growing one of the largest network of rehab clinics in Canada and, more recently, served as the VP, Operations for Myodetox – one of the fastest growing rehab companies in the world reaching millions of people via social media each month.
In the first half of his business and technology career, Sanjeev spearheaded the design and development of a proprietary practice management software as well as its associated technologies. As such, he has worked with hundreds of clinic owners, therapists, front desk staff, managers, and executives to understand how they work, master how to implement change in the business, and ensure staff “buy-in”.
Currently, Sanjeev works as a rehab technology advisor, is co-founder of CallHero, and facilitates working sessions each week with clinic owners across the country to implement the ultimate blueprint on running a clinic – aligning patient experience and operations with revenue growth strategies