Healthcare organizations have attempted to improve customer service as patients become more inclined to make decisions regarding their treatment. Healthcare consumers today are exceptionally knowledgeable about costs. They’re more apt to comparison shop for healthcare services, researching providers who offer convenience and the care they need. Patient referrals are, and always will be, the most effective marketing effort put forth by providers. Today’s healthcare consumers are spending more and more time researching their healthcare online, but many of their decisions eventually come down to recommendations from a current patients and other practitioners.
Recommendations from other physicians are excellent, but patient recommendations can carry just as much weight. Healthcare consumers often ask friends and family which doctors they use when they’re new to an area or in need of a specialist. There are a number of ways to increase referrals from your current patients, but sometimes the easiest method is simply letting them know you’re taking new patients.
If your healthcare organization is looking for ways to increase patient referrals, here are the top 4 activities that might help:
Top 4 Ways to Encourage Patient Referrals
- Online Portal. An online portal is an easy way to cultivate patient loyalty because being able to quickly schedule appointments and pay balances is so convenient. An online portal will not only help promote increased satisfaction among your current patients, but it also allows your practice to be easily found through an online search in your local area.
- Optimize for Mobile. Mobile devices are fast becoming the most widely-used method of conducting online searches. A good way to help current customers better use your system is by developing an app that’s accessible anywhere. Making the site more optimized for mobile use is also important.
- Patient Follow-Up. Patient follow-up is key to satisfaction. This includes following up with patients on current treatments and touching base to make sure they’re scheduled correctly. It also applies to thanking patients for referrals and complimentary posts. For example, if you see a patient has recommended you on social media or via an online form, it’s appropriate to acknowledge that referral with a personal “thank you.”
- Concentrate on Patient Engagement. Patients recommend practitioners they love. It’s really as simple as that. A patient is happy to make a recommendation when they truly value the service they receive and want to share that with others. There are a number of reasons to concentrate efforts on excellent patient engagement, but increased patient referrals is at the top of the list.
Download our presentation! [6 Strategies To Improve Physician Billing]
Thoughts on Online Marketing in Relation to Patient Referrals
Direct patient referrals are important, but online portals have also opened opportunities for patients to find new healthcare providers. A patient’s positive post on a community forum or social media page can be read by hundreds of followers, rather than just being directed at a single person. Personal recommendations can pack a punch, but it’s important to remember they most often stem from excellent patient engagement and satisfaction.