A huge source of concern that’s been building over the years is the sometimes severe drop in referrals specialists see when their referral sources become part of an integrated healthcare system. It’s already known that some hospital groups, such as Henry Ford Hospital here in Michigan, make it impossible to refer out of their system. We’ve heard stories of healthcare groups who directly penalize physicians for sending referrals ‘out of system’. Many physicians are concerned that referral marketing might prove fruitless in the face of this financial pressure.
We’re concerned too. But that doesn’t mean that referral marketing is futile. Quite the opposite in fact!
Medical Referral Marketing Factors To Consider
- Many referrals are heavily influenced by the staff of the referral office, or a referral specialist. They need simple information like insurance you accept, procedures & services, and location. Through a multitouch campaign you can stay top of mind with them and sway their referral pattern, providing that it still fits the parameters of proximity, accepted insurance, and solid reputation.
- Though few and far between, there are some markets where integrated healthcare systems and medical malls have dominated the landscape and captured the majority of potential referral sources. All is not lost! Even in a worst case scenario where 60% of the Primary Care practices are owned, 40% are still open and available to send to you. In these kinds of markets you need a ‘call strategy’ where the outreach referral marketing effort is spent on those practices that are open and willing to change their referral patterns. At PRM, our first phase of outreach helps us identify those prospects quickly so that our liaisons don’t waste time with dead ends.
- Very few health systems can legally force their employees to refer to one provider over another, particularly if the referring physician is looking to refer outside of the system due to the special expertise/technique/services of another provider. You or your physician liaison absolutely need to make sure that the referral source understands what makes you stand apart from the competition.
Simply put, field marketing works for the medical specialist, and referral outreach marketing is still a wise investment. It’s not nearly as easy as it used to be, but with our team of physician liaisons working for you under the careful management of PRM, we expect to see an increase in referrals around 40% through the life of our contract. Like you we’re working harder and smarter to provide you with the best ROI on your marketing dollars.