Reaching new surgical patients is vital to driving more surgery scheduling and volume in your practice. There are several strategies that you can use to increase surgical referrals to your practice. Strategies that are personalized, consistent with a common goal, and measurable tend to be the most effective. To start, you must clearly determine your target market. Once this has been defined, consider the strategies below to focus on your target audience.
1. Build strong relationships with other healthcare professionals:
It might seem obvious, but building strong relationships with physicians, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals is key to increasing your surgery scheduling volume. Consider reaching out to other providers in your community to introduce yourself and your services. The graphic below from Amino.com is an illustration of the common referral patterns for different specialties.
BONUS Track the primary care doctors that are contributing the largest volume of surgical patients. Send a simple thank you card when they least expect it or a small token of appreciation at Thanksgiving. This strategy alone increased surgical referrals for a practice by 15%! Surgical management software like CaseCTRL can keep a log of all the primary care doctors that have referred to your practice, send thank you notes and keep track of referral outreach on autopilot.
2. Organize educational events :
Consider hosting educational events for other healthcare professionals or even target patients in your community. This can be an excellent opportunity to share your expertise, build relationships, and generate referrals. For example, hosting a workshop on joint pain at a senior living community is a great way for a joint arthroplasty surgeon to create dialogue and awareness in a community likely enduring or discussing joint pain with their peers.
BONUS Hosting educational workshops does not have to be a costly time-consuming endeavor. Often your surgeon's implant manufacturer will be more than happy to host the event, provide snacks, and in many cases, prepare the slides and even provide an honorarium to the surgeon for facilitating outreach. Similarly, if your practice is closely affiliated with a hospital or ASC, they may have an active outreach team with a budget designated for community engagement and are often delighted to involve surgeons.
3. Be affable and available:
One of the faster ways to endear yourself to referring providers or sick patients is to provide timely and efficient service. Patients will also be more likely to refer friends and family to your practice if you are available at unconventional hours or if your staff is affable and helpful when setting up appointments. Patients have become accustomed to interfacing with hard-to-access providers and overworked front-office staff. Surprising them with timely responses, and increased accessibility inevitably boosts trust and leads to adulating conversations with family and friends. Surgeons can also consider giving surgical patients their cellphone numbers. Although many surgeons cringe at the thought of receiving calls 24/7 from their patients, a study showed only 17% of patients actually used their surgeon's cell phone number over a 3-month period after surgery, and 83% of those patients ended up calling during business hours. Of the calls fielded by the surgeons, 50% were ones the surgeons were happy to field and involved an urgent issue they would have had to address anyways. Furthermore, at the end of the study, 72% of patients thought access to their surgeon demonstrated their surgeon was more caring than the next.
BONUS Referring providers appreciate a surgeon that can be easily contacted by text or cell phone. Giving priority access to referring providers is an opportunity for referring providers to impress their patients and provide exceptional service when their patient are in need. Some surgeons also share their numbers with patients. Platforms like CaseCTRL can automatically engage patients via text to give them personalized access to your team.
4. Collect patient reviews and testimonials:
Encourage your satisfied patients to leave reviews and testimonials on platforms such as Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades. Positive reviews can help build your online reputation and generate new referrals. Online is where most eyeballs are going to find new doctors. If you want to level up your online presence also consider video testimonials. Storytelling invites patients to envision their recovery through the lens of other patients. Authentic video testimonials can be a powerful motivator for patients to see your care or pursue surgery scheduling. Be mindful of HIPAA regulations and be sure to obtain the appropriate consent before using this strategy. At CaseCTRL we can do all the heavy lifting, including automatically consenting, soliciting, formatting, and producing branded HIPAA-compliant video content for your social media presence. Join the beta test of our video testimonial product- Qfeed!
BONUS Do not be shy about asking your satsifed patients to share their opinion. In fact, have staff send an email after their encounter with links to review you. This is a sure fire way of enhancing your online reputation. Or, put your reviews and video testimonial acquisition on autopilot with CaseCTRL.
5. Create personable surgeon videos:
Patients are seeking a relatable physician. Videos give potential patients a sense of who the surgeons are and the person behind the white coat. Before surgery scheduling, patients look for confirmation that their surgeon is compassionate and caring. Gone are the days when professionally edited and produced videos are required. In fact, authentic, more human videos of your surgeons are more relatable and readily consumed by patients. The short-form video has become the most popular medium on social sharing platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and even LinkedIn. Instagram recently announced that it’s moving away from being a picture-based platform as it transitions to supporting more video content. Videos simply drive more engagement with your practice.
BONUS A handful of videos on your profile discussing the surgeons passion for medicine, why they became a physician, the conditions they treat, or a fun fact about the practice are often enough to galvanize a patient to make a visit.
6. Email marketing:
This is an often underutilized mechanism for reaching new patients for surgery scheduling. Your existing patients however are an untapped resource for new referrals just an email away. Periodic reminders about the services provided help keep your practice top of mind so the next time a sick friend or injured family member seeks services your team provides, your just an easy email forward away! Many tools are available to easily create mailing lists or newsletters for your patients such as mailchimp, sendinblue, or mailjet.
BONUS Send your post-surgical patients an unexpected birthday email greeting. Check in on them and their progress. Include a recent personable story from your surgeon to stand out from all the other business-as-usual surgeons they encounter. Get your staff to periodically do this, or let CaseCTRL take care of it!
7. Level up your web presence:
First impressions count! An outdated online website presence that is clunky or nonexistent, is an immediate turn-off for patients looking for a surgeon. In this day and age, it is essential to optimize your website for mobile devices and provide a clickable phone number. Moreover, your website should be optimized to rank highly on search engines for patients seeking surgeries you perform in your region. Get a search engine optimization expert to audit your site's performance. Online scheduling of an appointment is very attractive to patients too. Reducing friction makes it easier for potential new patients to connect and see you. Dismiss the power of social media at your own risk. Social media is a powerful tool to reach new patients. Leverage social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to share educational content, promote your practice and engage with your target audience.
BONUS Interactive chat and text messaging can be a great draw for attracting new surgery scheduling referrals. Staff stretched thin? No problem, consider implementing a live chat agent like Tawk.to on your website. They can field inquiries 24/7 and collect patient referrals on behalf of your staff at a fraction of the cost.
Work Smarter, not Harder!
CaseCTRL is a comprehensive, integrated software solution that makes surgery scheduling and planning more efficient. Using AI-empowered tools our software can help your team drive more surgery in an automated fashion leveraging some of the strategies above. See how CaseCTRL’s solutions can help you facilitate process change by scheduling a demo.