Building practice referrals
Meghal Antani, MD, MBA, FSIR Winter 2017
Developing and nurturing relationships with referring physicians are key to the health of any interventional radiology practice. Although this certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, below are some of the approaches I’ve used in my 15 years of IR practice to build referrals (the last 8 years of which I’ve spent running my own outpatient IR facility):
- Call the referring doctor in person after first seeing their patient (the initial consultation) to inform them directly of the findings. Ideally, you will have the results of any diagnostic testing (such as an ultrasound) to discuss with them as well.
- Follow up the phone call with written reports by fax or email. Have your staff contact theirs to verify that the report was received. I have had situations where a fax did not go through; the referring physician never saw the written report and thought that we’d never sent it.
- Have your physician liaison (marketing person) follow up with the referring office in person to make sure they have received all information about the patient and see whether they have any questions. This can be done after the patient has undergone treatment, so that the physician liaison can make sure that all records have been received.
- Attend local medical society dinners. These functions are often attended by community primary care doctors and other potential referring physicians. Try to introduce yourself to as many new physicians as you can. Have your business card readily available (e.g., in an easy-to-reach pocket).
- On your business card, provide your cell phone number. Let physicians know that they are welcome to contact you any time (by a phone call or text message). Being available for quick questions is very important. On the back of the business card, briefly list the major procedures that you offer, so that the referring physician knows what to contact you for.
Share in the comment area below your tips and suggestions on building referrals with physicians in your community.