The number of referrals you have coming in from other doctors can certainly impact your office growth and patient flow. Chances are, you have a steady amount of referrals, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about seeking even more.
With more and more dermatology practices opening, doctors have more options than ever before when choosing who and where to refer patients. If you’re not continually working to put yourself at the front of that list, you may get overlooked.
How can you stand out among everyone one else? First, make a plan and revisit it frequently to adjust as needed. And be realistic. It’s going to take time to build new relationships, so don’t expect to meet your goals within a few days. Here are a few action items to consider in your plan:
Reach out to doctors in all medical fields.
Primary care providers are probably one of your largest sources of referrals. As general doctors, they’re likely to come across a skin issue they’re not equipped to handle and refer the patient out to a dermatologist. But you don’t have to rely solely on general practitioners. Any doctor in any medical field may potentially be a referral source. Perhaps a patient will mention how they would like some cosmetic dermatology to go along with their cosmetic dentistry when at the dentist? These situations will be less prevalent than your run-of-the-mill general doctor referrals, but they still happen. So why not reach out to all these other doctors and specialists in your area and cover all your bases?
Make connections at conferences and other professional events.
Whether you’re a guest, speaker or event leader, these events can be great opportunities to connect with other medical professionals and specialties. If you’re presenting at the event, even better. This will give you the chance to show your dermatology or specialty expertise first-hand to the entire audience.
Be a good neighbor.
Find out what other doctors are nearby in your community and take steps to introduce yourself if you haven’t. Building these relationships can have a great impact on your number of referrals. If a new medical clinic or practice opens up near you or in your town, this is a great opportunity to make a good first impression. Just starting out, they probably don’t have an existing referral network, so getting your foot in the door early can mean a prosperous referral relationship going forward.
There’s a good chance you’re already using social media to market your practice to potential patients, but are you using it to connect with potential referral sources? Other doctors and practices in your community are most likely on Facebook, Instagram, etc., so use these as connection channels too. LinkedIn is even more appropriate for making professional connections, and has specialty groups and forums for medical professionals.
It’s also important to build new referral relationships with doctors and medical professionals that share the same values and philosophies of care. Otherwise, issues with patient expectations and satisfaction may occur. If a patient is used to a type of care from their primary provider, they’ll likely expect to receive that same type of care if referred to you. If that doesn’t match with your values and approach to care, they may not become a regular patient and might leave you poor reviews.
Need assistance with building your referral network? We’re always a phone call or click away to support your needs. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today.