Regardless of your country, province, or state, patients face barriers to treatment. This is due in large part to the fact that insurance carriers and regional healthcare plans alike require that PT services are prescribed by a family physician—otherwise, they may not remit payment for those services. Knowing this, a lot of private practice clinics understand how important it is to foster good relationships with local MDs and begin racking up those referrals. In Part 1 of Increasing Doctor Referrals for Your PT Clinic, we’re going to talk about how to do that.
Often times, when a patient is experiencing a musculoskeletal issue, their first visit is to their family physician. The doctor will then provide an initial assessment and attempt to diagnose the issue. And by the end of the visit, they’re likely to prescribe some sort of anti-inflammatory or a muscle relaxant—which offers temporary relief, but does not treat the root of the issue—and you know that their issue can be resolved with proper PT treatment. This makes your task of increasing doctor referrals that much more important.
Getting New Doctor Referrals is a Numbers Game
Getting new doctor referrals is going to take a bit of legwork. It’s up to the clinic owner to make contact with all of the doctors within their geographic area. You’ll need to call them, introduce yourself and your clinic, and explain what makes you unique. If possible, try to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the doctor. That said, you shouldn’t leave this task to your office staff or your clinicians—this is a job for the clinic owner.
Improve Relationships with Your Current Referring Physicians
Just because a doctor is referring patients to your practice today, doesn’t mean they will be referring patients to your practice tomorrow. They can be approached by another PT clinic, they might have gotten some bad feedback from a patient, or they may simply forget about you. In any case, improving your relationship with your current referring physicians is vital to continued referrals. Take them out for a round of golf, treat them to lunch, or something fun they might enjoy. Do your best to keep the conversation casual, because it’s less about work and more about developing the relationship.
Keep Tabs on the New Doctors in Your Neighbourhood
New practices open up all the time, and new doctors come to work at old ones. In both cases, these doctors are eager to build their caseload, and you’re in an excellent position can help them with that. Reach out to the office managers and inquire about any new physicians joining the practice. And keep an eye out as you make your rounds through the neighborhood. It’s in your interest to be one of the first people through the doors of any doctors’ offices in your community.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we share some more tips for increasing doctor referrals in your PT clinic.