Despite the concerning statistics on the number of referrals, they remain a crucial method for medical practices to boost their patient numbers. For some specialists, referrals from other doctors are their only source of patients, indicating an unbalanced demand and supply. To address this issue, they may need to expand their capacity to accommodate more patients.
To maximize the effectiveness of their referrals, specialists must optimize their systems to prevent any missed opportunities. They need to ensure that referrals are relevant and appropriate, and if not, to refer the patient to another specialist. Unnecessary visits to specialists can make it harder for patients who truly need assistance.
This article discusses the three different kinds of referrals and ways on how healthcare businesses can increase the number of their referrals and increase demand to their practice.
Three Different Types of Referrals
The first type of referral is experience-based referral, coming from a patient’s direct experience with your practice. If your patients value your services, they may choose to share this valuable information with others, which can be more effective than the next two types of referrals. However, experience-based referrals require more effort to secure, as patients may struggle to obtain case studies and other referral materials.
Reputation-based referrals, on the other hand, assumes your business and overall track record are well-known in the industry or the general public. If your business has a large reach, you are more likely to obtain these referrals. The last type of referral is specialisation-based which comes from people who are aware of your specialization but lack knowledge about your reputation, making it crucial to exhibit your unique value to these leads.
Ways to Increase Your Referrals
Refining your referral marketing strategy by asking new leads how they heard about you can help you take advantage of all these three types of referrals and increase awareness to your brand. A solid healthcare digital marketing strategy invests time, energy, and talent into these referral tactics. Here are specific ways to increase your referrals:
Simplify Your Referral Process
Simplify the referral process by offering straightforward referral forms for both staff and patients to complete during their visit. To initiate patient interaction, you can simply collect basic information such as their health status, referral source, and contact details. Gathering this information will enable you to plan their next appointment and consultation and ensure that they follow up with your practice.
Get Your Staff Involved
Getting your staff more involved in the patient experience can make a positive impression. Encourage your staff to actively listen to patient concerns, collect feedback, and address any issues that arise. Thanking patients for choosing your hospital and simplifying appointment and billing processes can also improve their experience. By building a relationship with patients, your staff can increase the likelihood of receiving referrals.
Promote Your Practice to Other Specialists
Promoting yourself to other specialists can be done in two ways: networking with physicians and specialists yourself, or having your staff do it. By doing so, they will think of you when they have a case that requires your expertise. It’s essential to maintain regular contact with potential referring physicians and express gratitude for any patients they send your way.
Get Listed as a Consultant Near Your Practice
To increase referral visits for your independent clinic, get your business listed as a consultant at hospitals near your practice. This can be achieved by ensuring you are on staff at these hospitals, which will result in your listing on their website. This will increase your visibility to potential patients who may be planning a visit.
Assess Your Patients’ Satisfaction
Assessing patient satisfaction is crucial to generate positive word-of-mouth referrals and increase patient volume. To do this, you need to have a reliable way of measuring patient satisfaction. Gathering feedback from patients can help you gain insight into how they perceive your services and staff, and allow you to make improvements to enhance their satisfaction. You can use a straightforward survey that can be sent by mail after each patient visit to collect the necessary information for measuring patient satisfaction.
Tell Patients About Your Patients’ Portal
To encourage patients to engage with your patient portal, take advantage of clinic visits to inform both existing and new patients about its benefits. One of the reasons why business needs a website in the healthcare sector is to educate them on how to use it to access their health records, ask questions, or have their health monitored. This is crucial for meeting meaningful use requirements and enhancing patient engagement.
Provide Online Prescription Services
Distinguish yourself from other healthcare providers and demonstrate your dedication to your patients by offering online prescription services. Sending prescriptions via email is a convenient way to improve patient compliance with their treatment plan. Make sure to provide comprehensive information about their medication, dosage, and any relevant lifestyle advice, which can help you enhance the health outcomes of your patients, leading to more word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals.
Follow Up Your Patients’ Appointments
It is common for doctors to recommend follow-up appointments after an initial visit, but patients may forget to schedule them. However, follow-up care is an important aspect of a patient’s health plan. To make this process easier, you can implement a system that enables you to book follow-up appointments for your patients and send them automated reminders. This way, patients are more likely to remember their appointments, leading to better health outcomes and increased patient satisfaction.
Be Consistent in Providing Quality Care
Consistently delivering quality care should be a top priority for any healthcare provider. To achieve this, have contingency plans in place to ensure that patient care is not disrupted when a physician or staff member is unavailable. This could involve arranging for a substitute provider or rescheduling appointments promptly to minimize wait times for patients. By prioritizing patient care, you can ensure that your patients receive the best possible experience at your practice.
Educate Your Patients About Their Health
To improve your patients’ knowledge and understanding about their health condition and prescribed medications, you can provide them with accurate and reliable information. Instead of letting them rely on potentially unreliable online sources, you should take the initiative to educate your patients. Utilizing a patient portal or a mobile health application can be an effective method to share information and resources with patients. Through this, patients will be more satisfied with their care and more likely to recommend your practice to others.
There are more ways to increase patient referrals, especially investing in digital marketing. Legend DigiTech can help you in this matter. Reach us today for your healthcare business’ marketing needs.