Physical Therapist's Guide to Increasing Physician Referrals

Picture of a doctor with a stethoscope

One of the main sources of Physical Therapy patients for your clinic will be referrals from Physicians, so it is really important that you get this right. You want repeat bookings and quality referrals. But what can you do to increase your physician referrals and improve your brands relationship?

Decide what you can offer

There is a lot to think about here so you really need to drill down and decide what you can offer. Think about how many clients you currently have and how many new customers you are willing to take on. Then you need to think about the length of treatments that you are offer. Are they long or short term or perhaps both?

As a physical therapy clinic or individual, you need to be clear on what your talents are and what you are experienced in treating. Perhaps you have a specialist treatment that will make you the perfect choice for a specific condition. You need to decide on what you are going to show physicians you can do and why they should choose you to refer their clients to.

Your brand is also important. You need to get that right so you are immediately recognised and to improve your reputations with physicians. They will want to refer their patients to a professional therapist which reflects the service they offer their own patients. Mange your brand and stay consistent to build up trust and confidence.

Build relationships

In order to get physician referrals, they need to know you and your services. They are not just going to refer to anyone so you need to build that relationship first. Health care today is about collaboration rather than business as everyone wants to make sure the patient is getting the very best care and the services they need. This means making meaningful connections with physicians that you respect in areas that complement yours.

Think outside the box and don’t just evaluate what you can get from them, but what you can give too. This could include referring your patients to them if it is in the patient’s best interests. You should also build a relationship with the people who work with and around the Physician. That includes office managers, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

You can also make contacts at events such as conferences and meetings for your field. Start conversations and learn about specialisms and services offered and intersect yours with theirs. Hand out business cards and encourage people to visit your website to learn more. Meeting people outside of office settings gives you a different way to connect and build relationships.

Use client loyalty

You need to make sure your clients have a great experience with you and address any issues straight away. Of course, you will always want to ensure your clients get what they need from you within their sessions and that they make the progress that they require from working with you. This in turn will create a great relationship and loyal customers who will want to come back.  

If your customers receive a bad service or are not happy with the treatment they are receiving, they are likely to go back to their physician to complain. This won’t help your reputation or your relationship. Physicians are not going to make referrals if they have heard bad things about you as it will drive away their patients too. So, you need to build up a loyal customer base and offer the best service possible.

If you are unsure about how your clients are feeling about your service then you should monitor this. You could ask for patient feedback or give out a survey to get a feel for how they think your service is, what is good and what can be improved. That way you can make any changes necessary before you lose any clients.

Showcase your talents

If you offer a particular type of service or have a specialism in a certain type of treatment, then you need to make sure people know about it. Build up an email list and make sure you send out the right marketing emails to target those places you are most likely to get referrals from.

If you are particularly talented in treating sports related injuries then work with doctors who are also specialist in this field. This type of treatment goes hand in hand so it is great to showcase your talents in the niche you are in and market your skills to those who will benefit most.

Or perhaps you are better at recovery and rehabilitation after falls and specialise in looking after elderly patients. This can be a completely different area of business for some physicians so you need to make sure you are in contact with the right ones and they know about your services. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself as this is how you will get the right referrals and repeat customers visiting your clinic and using your services.

Just be good at what you do

It may sound strange to say this, but it is true. Genuine physical therapists who are good at their jobs and get results are noticed. So, don’t forget about your core business and customers when worrying about physician referrals. Offer excellent and consistent treatment and keeping your loyal customers happy. If you are good at what you do then it will be noticed and there is nothing better that a success story and word of mouth praise.

Once one of your clients goes back to their doctor and tells them about the great service, they have received they are more likely to refer their next patient with the same issue. And so on. Genuine good reviews are an amazing way to shine through and get you noticed.

Talking to the doctors about the therapy and working with them for the patient is also a great way to improve your relationship and is best for the client too. You will know what each expects and gives you the opportunity to manage their expectations and explain benefits of treatments together that go hand in hand with other treatments too.

Connect online

There are many ways to use the internet to your advantage and reaching out and connecting with physicians and their offices. Different forms of social media will let you connect in different ways. For example, Facebook will help you connect with mutual patients whereas LinkedIn will help you to connect in a more formal and business-like way. You will also meet other people within the same field and connect with more people who can potentially make referrals to you.

Sharing content together on social media and commenting on blog posts shows that your business is active and interested and will get you noticed. Mention the treatments in specific posts and share relevant content that is interesting and genuine for both yours and the physician’s followers.

The ultimate goal is to make meaningful connections online to build a community that will help each other thrive. From making recommendations to working together for the patients needs, it is a great platform to be a part of for your physical therapy brand.

Back yourself up with data

To show you are a trustworthy and established therapist, you need to be able to prove it. Using data, you have collected about your patients such as treatments and success rates you can show that you are not just all talk. This data can be used to create tables and charts to show exactly who you are and what you can do. Including this type of information along with genuine reviews is a great all-round way of showing physicians that you are a great choice to refer their patients to.

Lastly thank them for referrals

To show that you appreciate the time and effort they have gone to, to refer their patients to you, you should thank them. It acknowledges that you are appreciative and builds up your relationship. You can thank them personally over an email or a phone call or thank them online publicly to show your customers that you care and to show your affiliation too.

Other ways to receive referrals

Self-referrals are a way private customer can connect with you. It can be an easy process and a great way to gain new customers. You can conduct the initial assessment yourself and decide what type of treatment you can offer. Word of mouth referrals from clients to others are also a great way to gain new customers and recommendations

Need help with referrals?

If there are too many things to consider or you just have the time then you can employ a specialist to help you to get referrals, market your business and even manage your social media. Patient sites can offer various services that are tailored to physical therapy clinics and therapists take a look at our services here.