We often hear from practices who are concerned about integration and the pressures being put upon referral sources once they’re purchased by the local health system. Many physicians are concerned that referral marketing might prove fruitless in the face of this financial pressure.
In theory, this makes sense. In reality, it’s not entirely true.
- There are certain markets where integration has become complete and nearly every practice is owned by a health system, but these markets are few and far between. In truth most competitive markets are still open to a great degree and many practices are still privately owned. 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 markets such as this it’s important to develop a “call strategy” where we focus our time on practices which are open and willing to change their referral patterns. Done right we can have a significant impact with just a portion of that 40%!
- All Doctors are “splitters”. Even those whose practices are owned still tend to split their referrals for a variety of reasons. Some base their choice on geography, insurance, even liability. In short, most people don’t like to be told what to do and many enjoy sharing with others.
Most specialty practices can grow significantly if they simply get their “fair share” from doctors who split their referrals.
- Many referrals are heavily influenced by the staff of the referral office. They often have their own agenda to the benefit of the patient and ease of practice management and they can sway a large number of referrals to your office if you can prove the value of your practice to them and their patients.
- Lastly, very few health systems can legally force their employees to refer to one provider over another. At the end of the day it’s your license and your patients and you, as a provider, need to make the best choice for the benefit of your patient.
Field marketing works for the medical specialist, if it didn’t you would not see entire teams of physician liaisons from the local hospital calling on your referral sources.
We’ve been providing referral marketing for many years now and despite all the ACO’s and healthcare integration we still average a 40% increase in referrals for our clients. It’s not as easy as it used to be but we’ve sharpened our tools and refined our strategy to the benefit of our clients. Like you we’re working harder and smarter to provide you with the best ROI on your marketing dollars.
Give us a call at 610-310-1621