My boss recently assigned me to the task of reaching out to PCP referral coordinators at a number of Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) offices on behalf of Modern Eye Care. With the goal of building trust, educating staff, and generating patient referrals, this is what I’ve learned thus far:
1) They LOVE Gifts
And who doesn’t? Personally, I recommend flowers, sweets, gift cards or fun paraphernalia. Don’t forget to include directions to your office, business cards, and a basic description of the services you provide.
2) They Most Likely Don’t Know What You Do
Sadly, there are still many employees in the healthcare system that see ODs as refractionists. Make sure you present to them as if they are a “know nothing audience.” Really highlight the medical training you’ve received. Most importantly, make sure they know YOU can help manage their diabetic patients and improve their HEDIS scores!
3) They Are Super Busy
Often responsible for referrals and patient satisfaction – not to mention meeting with the medical device and drug reps that call on their office – these individuals work long, hectic days.
4) Your Presence (As A Doctor) Means The World To Them
By taking the time to visit them yourself, instead of sending your staff or office manager, you are putting your practice ahead of the competition! Build rapport, educate and follow up via phone or email to check in from time to time.
5) They Most Likely Have Their Favorites
They’ve been sending their diabetic eye exams somewhere. That means your gain is someone’s loss! Be ready to explain why they should refer YOU their patients over someone else.
Important points to consider:
- Qualified training
- Superior efficiency
- Better office location
- Unique patient experience
- Advanced technology
6) It May Take Time To Break Their Patterns
The phrase, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” crossed my mind in almost every office I visited. Many of these individuals have been doing the same task for 20 – 30 – even 40 YEARS! With this in mind, repeated follow up is essential if you’re going to acquire any new patients through your efforts.
7) They Appreciate Strength In Numbers
It helps to reference the alliance you have across their region. Consider joining a practice alliance group, such as Vision Source. They have been winning large contracts with major medical groups to help solve the diabetic crisis.
Often thought of as the gatekeepers, referral coordinators have a lot of power and they know it! Take the time to meet them and explain why YOU are the answer to all their problems.