In addition to providing patient care, most specialists find it necessary to market their skills to develop a healthy referral network. While it can leave you feeling a bit outside your comfort zone, the success of your practice may depend on it. Adam Higman, Communications Manager/Consultant for Soyring Consulting, a national firm based in Florida, agrees. "You're running a business and you have to pay the bills," says Higman, "Marketing is a means to an end - a must have."
Fortunately, the process doesn't have to be painful. It is possible to practice top quality medicine and increase your referral base at the same time. Focusing on customer service and good communication is a sure way to maintain healthy flow of patients into your practice.
Talking with other physicians is one way to get the word out, but Higman cautions physicians to make sure they're saying the right things. "Referring physicians want to see a reason to go to you," he says, "Don't say you're the best unless you have a reason. It can't be just your opinion." Higman suggests using only statements that can be proven. If you are the only physician in the area that performs a certain procedure, say that. Higman also believes that every physician should have at least a simple website that tells about the practice and what you do.
Bottom line, keep your name out there and be consistent in your efforts to keep referring physicians informed about what's going on in your practice. Notify them about new techniques and procedures you're performing. Be respectful of them and their reputations, and don't forget to thank them for sending their referrals to you.
To learn how you can improve your referral relationships, read the full article from the November 2010 issue of Central Florida Doctor Magazine.