<![CDATA[The act of physician referrals has been carried out by hospitals for many years now. These hospitals use these referrals to build market their practices and gain more clients. While physician referral relates to connecting patients to the right doctors, hospitals have started used it as a powerful marketing tool to beat their competitors. As such, the industry’s shift towards health management has now placed physician referral in the center of the newer healthcare delivery models.
Why does physician referral matter?
Even in today’s age of online information and telemarketing, the majority of healthcare consumers prefer to visit doctors and physicians who have been referred by a physician they already know. Studies have revealed that over 68% of healthcare consumers prefer physician referrals when it comes to choosing a doctor/physician for treatment.
Healthcare facilities thus, aim to utilize this trend to their advantage by joining a physician’s list of referrals and recommendations. This increases their chances of being referred to in case the physician attends to a patient and needs to refer him/her to a specialist instead.
Thinking about liability during referrals
Physician referrals usually occur when a primary care physician refers a patient to a specialist for a condition or treatment that is beyond his/her purview. However, when doing so, the primary care physician must take into account the best interests of the patient before deciding to send him/her to a referred specialist. Considering what’s best for the patient must be foremost in the primary care physician’s mind when referring the former to another physician so as to avoid litigation issues later on.
Mistakes to avoid when referring physicians
Referrals continue to remain a growing issue in countries like the US. Primary care physicians need to be very careful when referring patients to other physicians. As such, these are some of the mistakes they would need to avoid during and after the process. After all, the quality of the referral network can very well define a physician’s medical career.
- Unmonitored patient satisfaction after successful referral
Most physicians commit the mistake of not looking back at their patients once they have referred them to other physicians. Patient satisfaction is considered essential to maintain the quality of the referral network as well as protect it from litigation issues later on. Hence, primary care physicians must keep in touch with the patients they referred, and monitor their satisfaction levels on a continuous basis throughout the case. Failing to do so will not only Failing to monitor it would place the physician at risk of being involved in unnecessary hassles later on.
- Bad network partners
A very easy mistake to make is to choose the wrong network partners. This would happen even if the physician is knowledgeably aware of how things work. Not taking the proper time to set up selective strategies, checking credentials, location, goals and EHR compatibility can place a physician in the company of bad partners and partnerships which will only amount to bad patient experiences with time.
- Poor communication
Many physicians fail to realize that communication paves the way for a successful referral process. Patients do not want to feel as if they are simply being shoved from one specialist to another. Instead, they want to feel communicated with and will want the attending physician to listen to their needs and perceptions first. Not doing this will only lead to a referral program that falls short of their expectations. This in turn, will lead to customer dissatisfaction which will have a direct hit on the physician’s practice.
- Breach of patient information security
In the era of online computing, it is very easy for data to be stolen while on the way from one physician’s office to another. When patients entrust their information with a physician, they expect him/her to protect it by all means and ensure that it reaches the referred specialize in the most discrete of manners. Hence, failing to set up secure information protocols for the safe use of patient data would be detrimental to a physician’s referral program as well as his/her practice.
Physician referral has become an integral part of healthcare marketing these days. Many healthcare providers rely on physician referrals to lure more clients to their facilities.]]>