This is an area that provider groups do not do well either. Here are a few things to do to market to your existing patients, bring them back to the practice and at the same time, provide “managed care” even if you are not a PCMH.
There are a few areas that we typically recommend:
- Asking patients for referrals.
- Regimented re-appointing of no show patients
- Regimented re-appointing of patients that cancel appointments
- Reactivating patients that have fallen out of care
Asking patients for referrals
Most provider office staff are not comfortable asking a patient directly for patient referrals. You are not alone in this.
But, you need to get over it.
You will never get anything unless you ask for it – so what’s the harm in doing so? Are you afraid that the patient will see you as “too commercial”? Are you afraid that your patient care is not good enough to justify a referral?
For all you know, your patients are already referring other patients to your practice – you just don’t know it yet because you do not have a way to capture the referral source.
First, put a process in place wherein you capture where a patient came from.
E.g. in Carecloud, in the patient demographics screen itself has a place to enter the REFERRAL SOURCE. Use it. As an administrator, you can also customize the REFERRAL SOURCE and add “PATIENT REFERRAL” to it (if you would like to).
Next, make sure that your call center agents, your front desk staff AND your technicians ask at least once – “How did you find out about us? Did a friend or a doctor recommend you to us? We would like to thank them.”
Start capturing the source of where your patients are coming from. Each day, report something as simple as
|Total appts created||New pt appts created||Provider referral||Pt Referral||Other sources.. Add columns…|
That’s it. It’s that simple
Now that you have this process in place, you can start asking patients to refer you to their friends and family members.
Each email that you send (hopefully you send “stay in touch” emails to patients) should include a single sentence to “Do you know anyone that could benefit from seeing our doctor? Please forward this email to them”
Each appt confirmation SMS that you send should include “Know someone that should see your doctor? Fwd this sms to them”
Each patient review SMS that you send should include “Know someone that should see your doctor? Fwd this sms to them”
Each thank you and welcome package that you send to patients should include “Know someone that should see your doctor? Tell them about us”
You could also incentivize patients for giving you referrals. E.g. “For each patient referred, get a $5 metrocard” (or something similar). As long as you do not waive the copay, you are not getting into trouble with the payers. Go ahead and think of things you can offer your patients to refer patients to you.
Next, let’s look at how to increase patient visit volume by reappointing no shows