As discussed in Part 1, patients everywhere are facing barriers to treatment. This means that they might have a harder time receiving insurance coverage for physical therapy treatment when they lack a doctor referral. In other words, they may end up paying out of pocket for physical therapy services. This makes it all the more important to develop a positive rapport with your local family physicians, and ensure that the referrals continue coming your way. In Part 2 of this series, we’re going to share 3 more tips for increasing doctor referrals in your PT clinic.
Prepare your elevator pitch
Imagine that you’re riding an elevator from the penthouse to the lobby with a someone who matches your target demographic. You only have the length of the elevator ride to explain why they should buy what you’re selling. In this case, you’re selling your physical therapy services.
Doctors are approached by different service providers all of the time. Some want to sell them software, some want to sell them medical supplies, and some, like you, want to sell them their PT services—and make no mistake—earning their referrals will take a bit of salesmanship. In order to stand out from the rest of their would-be partners, take some time to refine your elevator pitch. Your ability to concisely explain why doctors should refer their patients to you can be the deciding factor in them choosing you over one of your competitors.
Examples of reasons why a referring physician should choose your practice are:
– Your clinic’s location can be convenient for their patients
– You and your therapists have many years of experience
– Your clinic offers direct billing (i.e. HCAI, TELUS Health, etc.)
– You specialize in a particular musculoskeletal issue
Ask the right questions
Building professional relationships revolves around your ability to understand each other’s business needs. And your ability to determine a doctor’s business needs is largely dependent on you asking the right questions.
Some of the questions you can ask to begin developing a rapport and getting to know this physician’s needs are:
– Do many of your patients have musculoskeletal issues that can be treated with physical therapy?
– Do you often find yourself prescribing pain medication for back issues?
– Are there any challenges with your current physiotherapist? How could they be improved?
– What else is important for you as a doctor?
Find out who your non-referral patients’ family doctor is
Our last tip involves a referral source that you may not have considered: your existing patients’ current family doctor. A number of your patients may be walk-ins, or they may have been referred by a family or friend. Whatever the case may be, it’s beneficial to find out who their family physician is, and reach out to them. But before you do that, speak to your patients and get their consent.
And what should you say when you finally make contact with them? Try mentioning that you’re currently treating some of their patients. You’ll also be sure to grab their attention if you tell them that you’re looking for a place to send patients for x rays and other medical issues.
That’s all of our tips for getting doctor referrals in this article, but stay tuned for Part 3 where we wrap up our discussion on the subject.