The is part of a series of lessons in our medical marketing course. For the entire course, please check out our medical marketing lessons. Learn how to grow your medical practice.
Here’s an example of how you can achieve your SMART marketing goal “I want to add one new referring physician partner per month”.
- Get started
Let’s break this down. How would you achieve that?
– Create a list of physicians near your practice location(s) to market to. If you do not actively market to physicians around your practice locations, you need to fix that asap. Physician referrals are a rock solid way to add new patients to your practice on a weekly/monthly basis.
– Create a simple CRM with this database you gather.
– Hire or deploy your existing physician liaisons to visit these potential referring physician partners OR
– Send faxes/letters to these physicians on a regular basis introducing your practice to them OR
Call these practices and introduce yourselves to them on a regular basis
– Work with your scheduling team / front desk to ensure that patients referred by these referring partners get appointments quickly
– Follow up with the referring physician office with visit notes to close the loop and to ensure their patients are happy PLUS the referring physician is happy.
- Create a list of referring physician prospects near your practice location(s)
First and foremost, you need to create a list of all potential referring physicians. As you know, the primary care physician is the biggest source of all referrals. However, for specific population health conditions (e.g. diabetes), certain groups of specialties also are a target.
As an example, for diabetic patients ophthalmology, podiatry, endocrinology, nephrology, dieticians… they all get involved in the same patient’s care. Do not forget to market to such “associative” practices !
Creating a list of all such providers is not as easy as it sounds. However, there are some ways you can achieve this
– NPI database that is distributed by CMS and updated weekly
– ZocDoc or healthgrades or rateMDs or vitals.com etc
– Best of all – payer provider directories
- Data from NPI Database
CMS distributes this publicly available database here. Keep in mind that CMS updates this with a “Full Replacement Monthly NPI File” each month and also publishes a “Weekly Incremental NPI Files“ each week.
While this does contain comprehensive data, unfortunately, the addresses of providers in this database are not always accurate. Bear that in mind when you are creating medical marketing lists of your own. We have noticed that sometimes the addresses reported by the NPPES database file are completely incorrect.
Although, if you are marketing via fax or phone, this might not be an issue for you as we have found that the fax numbers are usually pretty accurate. Phone numbers do tend to be pretty accurate as well, although they are not as accurate as the fax numbers. While every listing is going to have a phone number, fax numbers are not always a guarantee.
- Data from Google
You can always turn to google maps for a listing of providers around your location as well. This is a bit of a painful process. You need to use google maps and start searching for specialties by name .. e.g “podiatrist” or “ophthalmologist” or “optometrist” and collect the google map search results for providers around your location(s).
Google also faces the same challenge – the data you get is not really accurate.
- Business listing websites
While NPPES and Google don’t always provide accurate information, on the other hand, business listing websites do provide more accurate information (for profiles that have been claimed by medical practices). You need to be careful about trusting data of practices that have been claimed by the medical practice – that’s when the data is actually more accurate than what you find via Google or NPI database.
If the medical practice has NOT claimed their business profile then you are, in all probability, looking at the same inaccurate data as you would find via the NPI database or Google search results.
- Payer provider directories (best)
This is quite possibly the best source of the most accurate information of providers. By law, each payer is supposed to maintain a correct, updated provider directory. This helps you in many ways.
You already know which payer plans you accept and know well that you do not actually want to see patients whose insurance you do not accept (leads to billing issues). So, the best way to do this is to simply take a list of your payers and then google + provider directory (e.g. “healthfirst provider directory”).
Most, if not all, payers have their provider directories available on their website or as a PDF. You can simply create your own database of providers to market to by collating this information.
Next, let’s look at How to market your practice using a simple CRM or a spreadsheet