As a healthcare marketer, you are familiar with patients and their families, but managing relationships with referring physicians is fundamentally different and much more challenging.
3 observations on referring physicians
1. Compared to patients, the awareness and knowledge of referring physicians is much higher. This can make changes in perceptions difficult to implement.
2. Physicians form perceptions and expectations over the course of their career, instead of individual episodes like most patients.
3. The lifetime value of a referring physician relationship is ten times greater than an individual patient-family – so well worth the effort and resources invested!
3 tips to maximize physician referrals
1. Examine your referral experience
From the moment a decision is made to consult a patient case to the transition of care back to the physician, gaining an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the current versus “ideal” experience of your referring physicians is key to developing an actionable and long lasting plan.
2. Deliver functional and emotional needs of your referring physicians
It’s not just what your hospital does (functional needs) but also its how you do it (emotional needs). Referrers need to know your clinical outcomes and how to refer a patient, but they also want to feel included in treatment and valued as an caregiver and patient relationship owner.
3. Befriend your referring physicians
Too many hospitals assume a physician portal will meet their referral needs – but many physicians dont want to deal with multiple logins or search for call center information. They want, and expect, a person to reach out to them and to be their resource when they want to refer a patient case.