Whats the fastest way to obtain patient referrals, and grow your patients census within a healthcare agency?
We are a thriving healthcare agency serving patients in a few cities within the Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Tarrant, and Rockwall counties...in Texas. We strive to get referrals from our patients, family, doctors' offices, assisted living residences, and general word-of-mouth.
We have some of the marketing tools; website, brochures, fliers, pens, diaries...etc. However, I find, the most efficient means we have been able to obtain patients through have been a more direct means of interacting with people.
Are there government, medical agencies, conventions, or hospitals networks that provide portals or memberships we can join or explore to be on a schedule, a list, or other to give us exposure and tangible exposure to patients?
Paul, the small companies I am familiar with that go after a similar market (physical therapy clinic, home health care, etc.) have on-staff marketing reps that make the rounds of hospitals and doctors offices, building relationships, talking about services they offer. This brings them a steady stream of referrals. Nothing besides personal contact is effective for them.
Let us unpack your question
fast way - getting clients is not fast food, and you your self has stated "the most efficient means we have been able to obtain patients through have been a more direct means of interacting with people."
So listen to your own advice stop the marketing nonsense and start having open days and organise events that you can atract the right people who would want to use your facilities. Sometimes marketing is just betetr spent talking to people than trying to hog tie them into commitments
Patients are he best resource for referrals and there is no doubt about it. However, when family members are investing the funds for treatment (on their health care program plan), they may not be the direct source for contact.
Unlike many other businesses, the healthcare business has one unique advantage. Say, you have a patient who has undergone a healing process and is off ICU or the ward, or gone home and even gone off medication and is prescription drugs-free - This is the best scenario that can be achieved by any doctor.
a - How does one validate it - you can look at patient records and determine day of admission, day of treatment (includes surgery if appropriate), day of starting recovery, day of ICU discharge, day of ward discharge and day of last visit to the doctor. Likewise you have a big data set to mine and estimate your averages and variance. This way you can mathematically model it and determine in a probabilistic manner as to what would be involved for a particular type of ailment - Days to recover, cost to recover, and extent of recover (without side effects or loss of a particular function of the body - total recovery). Of course you can for internal needs slice and dice the data by physician and use it for internal benchmarking needs and setting goals and objectives.
Your own internal data system tells you and you the full power to articulate this and only need a big data analyst (I would be glad to help with that) to define what goes into the database and what is useful as we extract it.
Once you go to external agencies, conventions, hospital networks, they are not likely to share information which is pristine to your next steps.
By doing this, you also demarcated and distinguished yourself from the rest of the crowd by sharing information relevant to the customer in a transparent manner, that your "patient" customer would appreciate.
Likewise you can also set up a vendor rating program by ranking them based on what they do to contribute positively to that of your value chain with your "patient" customer.
Does this make sense to you?
You might try some more unconventional routes to new patients like outreach and support to ministers in the communities you serve. These people are often referenced by parishioners for advice on how to get care. You might also try reaching out to complimentary medical service providers that are independent (like dentists etc.)
Do you ask for a referral?
Perhaps your marketing is all wrong and your message is not compelling nor does it get prospects to remember it?
Hi Paul. Great question. I'm glad to hear that you've already learned that a direct interaction with "people" has proven to be your best strategy... because it isn't any different when you approach other health care service providers who's services could easily refer yours.
First, I'm assuming you and everyone on your existing team can describe you agency's culture and values... and by values, I don't mean a list of words like "Integrity", "Privacy", "Respect" - first off, a consumer expects these values where ever they shop. Rather... what does integrity mean to you? What does "Integrity in ACTION" look like?
Next, go introduce yourself to other health care agencies who have the same values... because their patients will have very similar values which makes it an easy referral to you.
When you invest the time into getting to know another service provider, and they get to know you, you'll find common ground & beliefs. Remember, people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
The alternative is to go knock on a bunch of doors and ask for referrals from people you don't know, who don't know you... zero credibility... zero trust... and very likely zero referrals.
A great resource is Jeffrey Gitomer's book, "The little black book of connections... networking your way to rich relationships"
Hope that helps, Paul.
In a single word, "story-doing." What I mean by that is clearly defining your brand purpose and values and inculcating them deeply into the fabrick of your culture. Think Mayo Clinic as an example.
Their are no silver bullets. This takes concentrated focus. Your employees have to be empowered and trained to let their individualism shine to deliver "branded patient encounters." But at the end of the day, WOM wins out!
State and (perhaps) county level health agencies should be providing quality of care reporting for their constituents. Rhode Island's Department of Health has been doing this for over 10 years:
A poor ranking on reports like this is the type of exposure you don't want and likely can't overcome by any amount of marketing.
We've worked with a number of physicians and their marketing. Like you said, interacting with people is most efficient.
Referrals are somewhat regulated as you are aware, and some software can help in obtaining patients from other physicians, while other apps can get your in direct contact with people.
If you'd like more details, please feel free to contact me in person, I am not at liberty to discuss the details of those software in public forums.