Primary care practitioners regularly refer patients to specialists. In many cases, they will turn to a doctor they know and trust, whether or not that doctor is in the patient’s network. A study found that while 77 percent of providers know it’s important to keep patients in network, 79 percent will still refer their patients to doctors outside the network.
Part of that may be due to previous success with the physician. The same survey found that 72 percent of providers tend to stick with the same set of doctors when referring patients. However, since only 40 percent of providers seemed to know if their referrals were the most effective choice for each individual patient, that leaves plenty of opportunity to garner physician referrals for your medical practice. Here are some ways to do it.
Network with new physicians and providers
One of the best ways to get physician referrals is to make yourself known. When new doctors move to the area, send them a quick note to welcome them or stop by their practice. Attend any networking events in your area so that you can meet established providers in person.
As you meet new doctors, take the time to follow up with them and build relationships. That could mean sending them a personal note every so often, meeting up for lunch, or connecting with them on a social media platform like LinkedIn. Keeping your name at the top of their minds will be an important factor in getting them to refer patients to you.
Get involved with your community
While it’s not a direct way to get physician referrals, getting your name out there can help gain name recognition for you among like-minded practitioners. For example, you could volunteer time to a local charity or sponsor a youth sports team.
Not only is this a great way to become known among other physicians, it’s also an opportunity to network with them. Other community members are likely to take note of your involvement as well, so when they consider referring a patient to you, they’ll have a baseline measure of trust.
Demonstrate your expertise
Other doctors want to know that their patients are in good hands. To that end, look for ways you can demonstrate your expertise, whether that’s contributing articles to local publications, appearing on local news channels, or regularly updating your blog.
When you do publish articles or blog posts, keep it educational and informative. For example, if you’re a dermatologist, post articles about how to protect your skin from seasonal sun exposure and what to look for when you’re examining suspicious moles.
Provide timely updates to the referring physician
To keep getting physician referrals, it’s important to make sure that the doctor who referred the patient to you gets an update quickly. Not only does this tell them that you appreciate the referral, but it also helps them provide better patient care.
For example, if a general practitioner refers a patient to you for allergy screening, send over the test results as soon as you get them. It might also be helpful to follow up with a phone call if you need to discuss treating the patient going forward.
Track who refers patients
Getting repeat referrals is a key part of expanding your practice. Keep track of which physicians refer patients to you — and take note if the referrals start to drop off. This could indicate a problem in your practice that you need to correct.
For instance, you might notice that a particular doctor has stopped sending over patients. A quick follow-up could reveal that their patients haven’t had a great experience with the front desk, which could lead you to implement new intake procedures.
Make it easy to refer patients
If you want to get physician referrals, make it easy for other practitioners to send you patients. Set up your website with contact information, and consider adding a separate section with information that a referring physician might need or that a new patient could review prior to their appointment.
You can use JotForm to create physician referral forms. Just add the information you need, like the referring physician’s contact information, the patient’s information, and the patient’s symptoms.
Ultimately, getting a physician referral is about building relationships and making it easy for doctors to refer their patients to you. If you take the time to make yourself known, build trust with both other doctors and patients, follow up appropriately, and offer a simple way to send referrals, you’ll be able to grow your practice.