By Tony J. Onaissi
Home Health, Home Infusion Therapy and Hospice providers employ marketers whose primary duty is targeting physicians to get referrals for their agencies. Therefore, understanding what makes a physician office refer is of high importance.
Based on our long experience as providers of home health and infusion therapy services, physicians look first for quality services by professional agencies. This is a top priority given that they would be referring you a patient for “home care”, losing their direct supervision of that patient.
Access to the EHR of their patients:
To gain their trust, we developed a feature in our software (www.homecaremaker.com) giving them access to their patients’ Electronic Health Records that they can look into at any given time. This allows them to follow their patients’ status during the care period and if needed at any time. Access to the patients’ records will undoubtably improve the patient’s healthcare outcome and will immediately boost their trust in your agency because you would be telling them that your care follows such rigorous standards that you’re willing to share it with them. At any time and for any patient. Develop a way to share this information with the MD if your software does not allow it.
Remember that you are a service provider and as such the physician expects you to be responsive on top of the high quality that is required. Think of it as in a restaurant: you would definitely return to a restaurant or recommend it if the food is very tasty, served warm and on time. Therefore, you need to offer on-time superior medical care!
Assuming that all agencies claim that they are the best choice for referrals and that they all offer superior care at home, what would be the differentiator(s) to have the Physician select your agency over your competitor(s)?
Even though the pandemic brought marketers visits to a halt, they remain the number one mean to reach and communicate with the Physicians office. All indicates that we will continue living with the pandemic and that thanks to vaccination, infections will be milder with time as pharmaceuticals respond to variants with new vaccines allowing us to resume our normal lives while remaining cautious. Therefore, your marketers will remain indispensable to communicate the right message to the MD.
Using a CRM software to control sales:
Make sure you hire marketers with some medical or para-medical background (preferably a nurse) so that they can quickly understand the physician’s request. They should be using a specialized CRM to report in real-time the outcome of each visit to their referral sources. Remember that marketers are the most expensive component of Marketing and Sales and work away from the office. That is why you need an adapted CRM tool to ensure that you are getting the highest return on your investment in them. There are a few specialized CRMs for post-acute care providers and you need to select the one that best helps you keep an eye on your marketers work while remaining affordable to your agency as you turn on your engines following the pandemic’s huge impact on all businesses.
Last but not least you can download this interesting survey about Decoding Physician Office Referral patterns by Transcend.
Physicians are a major referral source for post-acute care agencies and you need to provide on-time superior services to gain their trust. Also, of crucial importance is hiring the right marketers to communicate with the Physician’s office and monitoring their activities through a specialized CRM.
Tony J. Onaissi is the founder and CEO of Isoratec, a home care technology company, and of Home Care Lebanon, a home health and home infusion business he founded in 1997. Contact Isoratec about CRM software at https://www.isoratec.com/