When Referral Sources Die, Defect, Retire—What Are You Going to Do Now?

magic hat referralsProfessional referrals—typically from generalist to specialist or to hospital admitting—are the financial lifeblood of many specialty practices, hospitals and other medical and dental providers. However, once rock-solid referral sources have eroded or evaporated with the dynamics that are reshaping healthcare delivery systems.

It’s an increasingly urgent problem for hospital and healthcare marketing in general, and for Physician Relations in particular. In recent weeks we’ve written about some of the factors that are threatening the survival of referral dependent practices and institutions ranging from careless neglect to a serious communications breakdown.

In our conversations with hospitals, group practices and specialists around the nation, the “old reliable” sources are moving, dying, retiring or defecting. Competition for referrals has become more intense, and some cases are being treated within the practice and are not being referred out.

So… what are you going to do now?

There’s no magic involved here. The business of professional referrals requires a clear plan of action. (Surprisingly, a lot of situations are missing this vital element.) Referral sources require deliberate and continuing care and attention.

Call it Business Development or any of several titles such as Physician Liaison, Physician Relations, Practice Representative or Marketing & Public Relations. By any label, a successful system of continuing referrals flows from a plan with responsibilities, measurable goals, timeline and resources.

Check your business pipeline for leaks. And if you need help creating or revising a professional referral plan, click through here for ways we can help turn things around.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director at Healthcare Success
Over the years Stewart has personally marketed and consulted for over 1,457 healthcare clients, ranging from private practices to multi-billion dollar corporations. Additionally, he has marketed a variety of America’s leading companies, including Citicorp, J. Walter Thompson, Grubb & Ellis, Bally Total Fitness, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Stewart co-founded our company, and today acts as Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. He is also a frequent author and speaker on the topic of healthcare marketing. His personal accomplishments are supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.

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