Physical Therapy Practice Management | Getting Patient Referrals

Messiano-blog2Getting Patient Referrals “It’s all Who You Know and How Well You Know Them.”

By Steve Messineo, DPT, Owner,

Physical Therapy and other health care clinic owners are always looking for ways to get more patient referrals from the variety of referral sources out there. In this article, I am going to specifically talk about getting referrals from MD’s.

Getting physicians to consistently refer to your practice, especially if they do not know you very well, is a HUGE challenge for any clinician who is unskilled in the ways of sales and marketing (which means the majority of people in our profession, likely including you – just saying.)

Now, if you are skilled in sales and marketing in addition to being a healthcare professional, then you have a BIG advantage over your competition and you probably have no problems getting MD’s to send patients your way.

But if you are not, then read on as I am going to tell you how you can do so with a little consistency and persistence. What you need to do is get to know your potential source REALLY well.

Now you may be thinking “How am I going to do that? The MD’s I am trying to connect with are never available for me to do so.” That may be true, so you have to find another way to get to know them.

There are several different ways you can do so. I will not be able to cover them all here, but I will give you a few examples.

The first is to create a survey of 8-10 questions where you ask the doctor HOW YOU AS A PRACTITIONER CAN HELP TO MAKE THEIR LIFE EASIER with respect to treating patients. Then ask some additional questions about them like “What do you like about being a physician?” or “what is your favorite hobby or activity outside of work?’

Show them you have a personal interest in them and in helping them and you should see a couple of good responses to those surveys. Then follow-up with a thank you and a mention about something they shared with you.

Another way is to get to know their “gatekeepers” when you visit their offices. I mean REALLY GET TO KNOW THEM and show that you believe they have a very important role. Make them feel good about your visit. It doesn’t take much effort.

As you develop a relationship with these gatekeepers over time, you will find they are much more willing to help you to get to know the doctor as well. For example, you may ask them to let you know when the doctor’s birthday is and what kind of coffee he likes.

Then you send the doctor a birthday card along with a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts gift card. Imagine his/her surprise receiving a card from you out of the blue on his/her birthday.

He/she is going to suspect someone in his/her office told you when his/her birthday was and when he/she goes to find out who, that person is going to tell the doctor what a great person you are. This could go a long way to helping you establish more of a relationship with that MD.

My point of all this is, as with any business, success comes to those who truly get to know their customers well and who make the greatest effort to take care of their customers. Doctors in a way are your customers. Treat them like you treat your patients and you’ll have more referrals than you can deal with.

If you want to learn more about effectively connecting with physicians, then register for my upcoming webinar on August 20th called “Outside of the Box Marketing Strategies to Get More Referrals from MD’s.” I’ll show you how to set up an effective marketing campaign to MDs that will drive in more patients for your clinic.

Who do you know to help you attract more referrals from physicians?