In order for your practice to thrive in 2019, it’s essential that you have a well-rounded, multi-channel marketing plan. This plan should include database outreach to ensure your patients continue to be your patients, traditional media like direct mail, digital marketing which may include PPC, and referral programs—both for patients and your community physicians. If you don’t have an active physician referral program, you may be wondering, “Why are physician referrals so important?”
Being a primary physician’s top-of-mind local hearing healthcare partner strengthens the patient relationship with both providers. Patients trust their primary care physician (PCP) with their whole-body health and, in turn, will trust you as an “extension” of their primary care team.
Here’s how to implement and execute a successful physician marketing program:
- Devise a target provider list – You won’t be able to visit everyone, and you won’t be remembered by everyone that you do see. So, create a hierarchy of relationships. Identify who your “A-lister” and “B-lister” PCPs are (i.e. the most reliable referring physicians that you already have relationships with). This is one example of why proper tracking in your practice management system is so important. You’ll also want to create a third tier that includes physicians who may have referred patients to you in the past and therefore, you may want to build better relationships with those providers.
- Target your message – Consider this startling fact: 95 percent of physicians understand that hearing loss negatively affects older adults, but studies show only 14 percent of physicians screen for hearing loss. Most PCPs are also busy seeing patients, day-in-and-day-out, especially as 10,000 baby boomers retire each day. So, when you first reach out to physicians, your message should be direct, concise, and center around the shared quality of care you both provide.
- Do your research – Find out who is responsible for referrals and what their internal process is. Does the physician make referrals on a script pad or does he/she give a business card to patients? Does a referral coordinator set up appointments for patients or does the practice rely on its patients to call?
- Determine what collateral you may need – Does the PCP you’re visiting need convincing health data to back up how important hearing health is, or does he/she want collateral to give to patients about how hearing is connected to their overall well-being? Does the referral coordinator use fax forms or does the doctor prefer to hand out business cards? Before each visit, make sure you’re well-stocked with the appropriate collateral for that PCP, including up-to-date health information for both the providers as well as the patients. This effort shows your commitment to the partnership. Consult’s MarketSource has a large selection of expertly-designed patient and physician marketing collateral which can be personalized for your practice.
- Develop the relationship – Remember, this isn’t a sprint. A truly successful physician referral program takes time to build and nurture; you don’t help anyone by pestering busy PCPs for five weeks and then disappearing. By creating an outreach calendar and sticking with the plan for months (then years!), you’ll build a partnership based on trust and a commitment to patient care.
Overwhelmed by the thought of putting a physician referral program in place? Consult YHN’s experienced marketing professionals are here to help!
Talk to your Account Manager or email our Marketing Department for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org