In many specialties, the majority of patients come to the practice via referring physicians. That is why efficient referral marketing is a central component of practice marketing in many specialties. However, many practices and clinics lack the right strategy or the time to implement it.
Finally, there are a number of questions to be answered: How do you get the attention of referring physicians? What role does an ABC analysis play? What is the best approach to referral marketing? Which instruments best support referral marketing? Whether it's a referral brochure, a referral newsletter or a requirements catalog: We will provide you with some important tips for your referral management and also show you how you can attract new referrers.
gaining more patients via referring colleagues
The basis for a commercially successful therapy practice is enough patients. Prescribing physicians can use personal recommendations or a medically based referral to influence the patient regarding the selection of a therapist. This is where your systematic referral marketing strategy starts. Not all physicians are the same - every therapist knows the differences in the cooperation with individual medical practices from daily practice. Therefore, the development of a referral marketing strategy starts with a strategic market analysis in several steps:
- Determine market potential: First, you determine the relevant catchment area for your practice. Depending on the degree of specialization of your practice, this area will be larger or smaller. Then you determine which medical practices are present in your catchment area and how many physicians with which specialization work in this practice. Now you can assign a calculated therapeutic drug prescription volume for the corresponding specialty to the physician. You can find average values for this, for example, on the Internet or via the case numbers and guideline values of the respective doctor's practice. The sum of the calculated possible therapeutic product prescription volume of your catchment area represents the market potential for your practice in the area of statutory health insurance services. The market potential in the area of private patients results from the shares of private patients of the individual medical practices.
- Analyze referrer relationships: Evaluate your internal statistics quantitatively! Which doctors prescribe which services? With which physicians do you make how much revenue? Create your top 10 referring physician list. Then make a qualitative evaluation: Which physicians request physician reports? With which physicians are there follow-up prescriptions and prescriptions outside the regular case? Which physicians are responsive to therapists' suggestions? Which physicians send more private patients than patients with health insurance? Which physicians do not send private patients? Which physicians check in on their own initiative, call, etc.? Which physicians exhaust the standard case of the therapeutic products catalog and which always remain below the possible prescription amount? This way you can create your own ranking.
- Categorize referrers: To ensure that your referral marketing activities are targeted and therefore economical, you should categorize your referrers. You can categorize physicians according to different methods. One way of doing this comes from the hospital sector and sorts physicians according to two variables: Willingness to Cooperate and Referral Intensity. The willingness to cooperate of the respective physician shows itself by the kind of co-operation, the handling of the topic physician letter etc.. Here, the qualitative factors described under point two can be used to make a classification on a scale from low to high. Referral intensity measures on a scale from low to high how many patients are actually assigned to your practice by a physician or physician's office. From the commercial sector comes the classic categorization into ABC customers or, in this case, ABC referrers. A-doctors refer frequently, actively and with a large volume of prescriptions, B-doctors refer less frequently, less actively but still with a sufficient volume of prescriptions and C-doctors are the isolated referrers. The result of your systematic referral market analysis allows you to tailor your referral marketing specifically to the respective referral categories.
Intelligent referral marketing is much more than a monetary issue. The complex requirements of referring physicians must be understood in order to translate these insights into a forward-looking strategy. Only in this way will you successfully steer the flow of patients in your organization.
Would you like concrete tips on how to make your referral marketing more profitable? Then take a look at our guide: