27 Dec How to Get Doctors to Refer More Clients
This article will outline you how you can use use a prescription pad to increase referrals from the medical community. This piece can be distributed to Medical Doctors, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Physical Therapy and Physical Rehab clinics, etc. This is a very simple piece that has already been created as a template in our practice management suite “Massage Office Professional” and can be accessed in Microsoft Word or Superscript (the word processor found in Massage Office) format. I have included an example at the end of the article.
“People do business with people they know.” This works the same with health care providers as it does every other business relationship. When you establish a relationship with a doctor or other health care provider, and they understand that you will do well with their patients, you will receive referrals.
First, ask every new client you book if they were referred by their doctor, another client, or some other way. This helps track your marketing and referral methods while planting a seed that doctors refer their patients to you. Cold-calling providers, with whom you have no previous contact, is the slow and painful way to get referrals. It is better to focus your efforts on your current clients. Let your clients know that your first priority is providing the best possible care. Express your desire to work WITH their other health-care providers. Ask them if they would allow you to communicate with their primary physician, or other health-care providers, about the therapy they are receiving from you. Have them sign a medical information release form and provide you with the name and phone number of their providers.
Medical Information Release Form
In order for you to discuss your client’s therapy with their other providers, you will need a signed release form from the client beforehand. This form should list the names of their providers and the details of their care that they allow you to discuss. Keep the signed form in their file and if needed, fax to their doctor. This form is available in the templates included in Massage Office Pro 2016.
When you call their providers, inform them that you are providing massage therapy for their patient, and you are calling to introduce yourself. Ask them if they currently refer their patients out for massage. This will give you some idea if there is a need for their other patients. If they have someone to whom they already refer their patients, ask to be included in their referral list.
If at all possible, schedule a personal visit to the doctor’s office. This is the BEST way to establish a good relationship. You should arrive prepared with a referral packet to leave with the doctor or the doctor’s staff. Ask if the doctor has a few minutes to speak with you, or when would be a good time to call back. This will give you the opportunity to impress upon the doctor that you will provide a complimentary, noninvasive addition to their treatment. When speaking to the doctor, always refer to clients as “your patients” as opposed to “my clients”. Example: “Your patients will always receive the best care in a professional environment”. NOT “My clients always…
Your referral packet should include the following items:
- A short letter of introduction describing the type of practice you have (solo or group), the conditions/symptoms you typically work with, any clinical specialties, your location and your website. This is when you explain how you can benefit their patients. Don’t over promise, make it simple, accurate and within your scope of practice.
- A brief and specific description outlining your education, experience, training and how this relates to benefiting their patients.
- The prescription pad included in this article. I would print up 20 to start with. The form is pretty self-explanatory and complete. Providing this form to health-care providers makes it much easier for them to refer their patients to you.
This template is set up in Microsoft Word as a 2-up on 8.5×11 paper in landscape format. I have included the template in PDF and Word format because of the difficulty in describing the steps taken to build the template. The word template can be edited in Word 2000 or later.
Once you have edited the template to suit your particular needs, simply print, cut in half (5.5×8.5) and distribute to the medical professional.
- Provider’s request form. A one-page form that allows the provider a way to request clinical documents (SOAP Notes, etc.) and marketing information pieces they may need.
- Client testimonials attesting to your professionalism and positive outcome of your therapy are always a good idea. Keep them short and 2-3 at most.
Prepare a short handout or brochure describing your practice and your services. Offer to leave a small stack with them to better educate their patients. Most medical practices are extremely busy. The more that you handle for them, the more likely they are to refer.
Every practice needs new patients to stay in business. Ask the doctor if they are accepting new patients so you can refer clients to them that would benefit from their services. Make sure that your clients mention that you sent them. This bolsters the relationship you are building.
Maintaining proper documentation, i.e. SOAP Notes, release forms and any other HIPAA related requirements is absolutely crucial to maintaining relationships with mainstream medical professionals. Having practice management software like Massage Office Professional is a necessity if you want to succeed.