When a physician refers a patient to your facility, that means revenue for you. Good, but what if you never get any more referrals? That would be a lost opportunity. If that physician continues to send patients to you on a regular basis, that’s recurring revenue—the wellspring of financial growth. If you can build up your roster of reliable, repeat referring medical practices, you will see positive financial outcomes. How do you make that happen?
What You Want
What do you want for your facility, in financial terms? The answer may not be as simple as you expect. You want revenue growth. You also want growing profitability over time. These two results don’t always go together. You can achieve revenue growth by overspending on marketing, recruiting the wrong kind of referring physicians or running a sub-optimal operation. Ideally, you will be able to build a growing network of referrers who reliably and repeatedly refer patients for profitable services, i.e. services without excessive scheduling hassles, follow up phone calls, faxed orders and so forth.
Achieving Your Goals through a Physician Outreach Program
How do you go about building this network of reliable referrers? In our experience working with many hospitals and imaging centers, the best practice is to set up a physician outreach program. You could call it marketing, but in the medical field, a more nuanced approach is usually preferred to in-your-face marketing campaigns.
Instead, a physician outreach program involves making a credible, professional connection with potential referrers and then demonstrating the value that you to their practices. Done right, this process leads to referrals. Then, hopefully, it leads to introductions to yet more potential referring physicians in their peer network.
What Referring Physicians Want
Referring physicians have similar needs to you, but for their own practices. They want to build a bigger, more profitable practice—one that’s economical to manage. They don’t want to waste time processing orders or fielding complaints from patients who get referred to your facility for services. Details count, as research shows. For example, in a reactiondate.com survey, 61% of physicians said they would refer to a different hospital if the new facility offered provider self-scheduling. You want to be the facility that offers such a feature. Otherwise, you face a high probability of losing that referring physician to one that does.
How Online Order Management Brings Your Goals into Alignment with Physician Needs
iOrder can strengthen your outreach program by enticing doctors with attractive ordering features. For example, iOrders offers the sought-after self-scheduling feature along with transparency, streamlined order management and compliance with the qCDSM mandate. The iOrder solution addresses 87% of the most important scheduling features referring physicians seek from a service provider. These include appointment confirmation and instructions, patient reminders, scheduling for a broad range of procedures and the ability to schedule from mobile devices.
With iOrder, you can promote features that you know are relevant to physicians in your outreach program. This should lead to growth in your referral network and repeat referrals. And, when the orders come in, iOrder gives you the ability to deliver services with great administrative efficiency. In these ways, iOrder can facilitate growth in both revenue and profitability.