Lesson 12 – How to create a great physician referral marketing team

Learn how to create a great performing physician referral marketing team – referral coordinator, front desk, physician liaison.. who else?

Use a system like our healthcare CRM and supercharge your referral marketing team.

  1. Who do you need on your physician referral marketing team?

    Understand the people needed to a create a high performing referrals team:

    1. The physician appointment setting team – whether you have one onsite or whether you use a centralized healthcare call center to do the job of appointment setting.

    2. The physician liaisons that meet with referring partners (if you have a physician liaison team)

    3. The centralized healthcare call center team or front desk staff that take inbound calls.

    4. Front desk staff that checks patients in.

    5. Your outsourced medical data entry team or the technicians you have at each one of your locations.

    6. Your providers or medical scribes (remote scribes or on site) that finalize the visit notes for each patient encounter.

    These are the people you need to create a high performant physician referral marketing team that truly contributes to practice growth in every step they take.

    We would highly recommend that you use some kind of physician referral software or referral management solution. In addition, please note that you really do need to have this solution tie in with your EMR and also your physician relationship management tool.

  2. Physician referral marketing team process – Accept referrals from ALL sources

    Make it the path of least resistance for referring partners to send you referrals. Whether they choose to send you referrals directly from their EMR to your fax, using your Direct address, faxing you directly, using P2P (jointhenetwork) or any other 3rd party referral software. Accept them ALL.

    The ONE thing your physician referral marketing team can control is how you report back to your referring partners on referral status, patient appointment statuses, visit notes. And we suggest that you DO control and influence this part of the game.

    RELATED – You can use our healthcare referral management software as well.

    This allows your physician referral marketing team to centralize “closing the loop” with your referring partners, showing them historical information of all referrals sent, showing them data on referral volumes, how quickly your co managed patients are getting appointments, how many attempts you are making per patient to get those patients to come in, how you are handling no-shows, cancellations etc.

    This reporting aspect tied to the fact that your referring partners can look up their patients at any point is KEY to cementing your relationship with them.
    For this, you are going to need some help from your IT team or do some spreadsheet magic.

  3. Physician referral marketing team process – Monitor ALL incoming referrals

    Help your referral coordinators monitor all incoming channels of referrals

    First of all, you are going to need to help your referral coordinators monitor all incoming channels of referrals – namely

    – Referral websites emails
    – Referral website faxes
    – Referral emails
    – Inbound referral phone calls
    – Patients calling in to make appointments based on the referral pad your referring partner might have given their patient
    – Direct faxes from EMRs
    – Situations where you acquire a new patient that wasn’t a referral but you captured their PCP information – this is KEY and a GOLDEN opportunity for you to open even more doors.. DO NOT IGNORE THIS CHANNEL.

  4. Physician referral marketing team process – Connect the referral coordinators with front desk

    For inbound calls – you are going to enable your referral coordinators to be in sync with your appointment scheduling team (inbound or front desk) to ensure that they capture referring physician information for each patient appointment.
    RELATED – You can use our healthcare referral management software as well.

  5. Physician referral marketing team process – Call the referring partner

    The next important thing to do .. without fail…Call the referring partner upon receiving the first few referrals to cement the referral relationship.

    Keep them up to date on the patient appointments, no-shows or cancellations. Make sure the referring partner office hears your practice name and your name a few times.
    We do this on a regular basis and we continue even after we keep receiving referrals from them. The policy we follow is that if we’re not calling them or calling on them, someone else is.

    Each day when you wake up, know that someone is going to knock on your referring partner’s door to gain their business.

    Your physician referral marketing team’s job is to protect what you worked so hard to get.

    RELATED – You can use our healthcare referral management software as well.

    We recommend that you give the referring practice admin or referral coordinator your direct  email / contact info (direct line, not the practice main phone number), your direct fax number if possible.

    Do whatever you need to, to make it easy for them to reach you and get appointments for their patients.

    You’d be surprised at how many practice staff don’t care and take referrals for granted.

  6. Referral management process – Arrange weekly referral update calls

    Get on weekly update calls with your referral partners – even for 10 mins. Get into the habit of calling at the same time, each week. This establishes a routine and a pattern.

    For this, you’ll need to collaborate with your practice management team or your IT team. Try to get a list of all referrals received in the last week and the status of each referred patient appointment. Ask your team for a spreadsheet with this information.

    RELATED – You can use our healthcare referral management software as well.

    Next, add a few columns to your spreadsheet.. date called, remarks – that contains what transpired on the call.

    On a weekly basis, we call the referring provider office to “tally up referrals sent vs received vs patient appointment information”.

  7. Referral management process – Do not “just fax over this information”

    Many times your referring partner coordinator will ask you to.. Resist the push back from the referring practice to “just fax over this information”. You need to have phone time or face time with the referral sender to cement your relationships.

  8. Referral management process – Get honest feedback from referring partners

    As the relationship is cemented, you can even be friendly enough to pick up the phone and ask the referring partner why you haven’t received any referrals in the past week.. Whether they are happy with your practice, if they need you to do something else. More often than not, you’ll be happily surprised that they’re quite candid with you and give you valuable feedback for the entire practice – things like “patients said it takes too long to get an appointment “ or “we don’t get visit notes back quickly” or “your staff gives up calling these patients too easily” etc

  9. Referral management process – Escalate issues before you lose the referral source

    Always, always escalate this information to your management and get together as a team to figure out how you could do better together as a team.

  10. Referral management process – Keep multiple teams in sync

    Get into the habit or creating a cumulative summary of referrals per practice. This really does help you and your physician liaison get a better handle of your referrals portfolio.

    Always keep your hunter/physician liaison team up to date on each referring partner account details.. They need details on partner satisfaction, referrals received per week, if referral volume went up or down etc.

  11. Referral management process – Transition established partners to automated weekly updates

    As you advance your relationship with the referring partner, start transitioning them to a fax based weekly update – with the same spreadsheet format that you have been sharing with them on a weekly basis. In fact, right from the beginning, you could get into the habit of calling with updates, plus following up that conversation with a fax with the same info you just discussed.

    RELATED – You can use our healthcare referral management software as well.

    It’s so easy to send a fax via the web these days… you don’t even need to walk over to the fax machine. Just “print + save to file “  the spreadsheet as a PDF and fax it over.

  12. Referral management process – Thank you notes

    Create a list for thank you notes. Seriously. Once you know your top referring providers week to week, month over month … create a list for thank you notes. Send thank you notes to your referring practices during holidays and other notable days each year.

  13. Referral management process – Identify splitters vs loyals

    You ALWAYS, always have to  try to understand (probe) if the referring partner is sending referrals only to you (loyal) or whether they are a splitter (sends to multiple specialists). Of course, you cannot ask this right from the beginning of your relationship.

    First “give, give, give” and then “ask” after you’ve helped them out.. a lot..

    HINT – You can use our free healthcare referral management software as well.

    Try to understand why that’s the case.. if they’re splitting their referrals between you and your competition.. a competitor that you might not even be aware of.

    You might find out that several of their patients are from a certain neighborhood where you don’t have offices. You might find out that several of their patients are not in the age group that you typically treat.

  14. Referral management process – Send satisfaction surveys to your partners

    Always keep an eye out for and probe for referring partner satisfaction.. you’re going to do that on the phone anyways, but if your referral network is as large as ours, you’ll want to systemize and formalize this a bit more.

    You can very easily create satisfaction surveys using a simple combination of google forms and google sheets. This is great information to share with your manager and your practice management staff.

    Why not just ask them on the phone? Because human beings are not comfortable with direct criticism. That’s why. But they WILL tell you if your practice is doing something wrong if you send them a satisfaction survey.

  15. Referral management process – Ask what the patients said about you

    Always ask what their referred patients said about your provider and your practice. There are so many patient review software these days that this is really not a big deal to take on. We recommend that you send out a patient survey after each visit. Then you ask the patient to post it on a social media channel of their choice. Simple.

    HINT – you can use our free patient reviews software.

    Give your patients multiple options – let them post on Facebook or google or yelp or healthgrades etc.. whatever is convenient for them. While you obviously don’t have access to the same kind of survey results as Press Ganey provides, whatever you can collect yourself is a great start.

    You can do this in a low tech way by simply using google forms and email or SMS! Really easy to do.Overall if you follow these strategies, you’re already way ahead of the game.. and it reaps BIG rewards in the long run. Next, let’s look at how to market to your existing patients

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