Market Your Agency Successfully to Referral Sources
Agencies, by law, provide the same services so it’s naturally harder to differentiate, especially in condensed markets like Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami. So what’s a home health to do?
Here are Some Tips and Tricks to Make Your Agency Stand Out to Referral Sources
Be Easy to Work With
Provide an additional hand to MD offices by helping them coordinate visits of your mutual patients.
This is a really cool way to stay on the top of the list for both current physicians and patients. Your referral sources will appreciate the help and your patients will feel that you are very involved with their care.
If a patient relies on a busy family member to get to the doctor’s office, coordinate non-emergency medical transportation for them. If the patient has Medi-Cal, it’s free. Plus, both the MD office and overwhelmed caregiver will appreciate the initiative.
Each time you send a medication change, send the entire updated medication list. Realistically, MD’s don’t open the patient chart and reconcile their med list for a patient each time they sign an order. Do them a favor by including this information. It will help them quickly scan all the meds for any changes and will differentiate you from the hundreds of medication change orders they get weekly.
Send your DPCS or the patient’s visiting nurse to an MD appointment that happens mid cert. This is a great opportunity to have your star players discuss the patient’s condition directly with the MD. This can be your policy for all complicated cases or just something you do for your main referral sources. Either way, your agency will stand out from the pack!
About once a month, visit all your top referral sources or any that you would like to develop further to have papers signed. This is a great way to get a couple of face to face minutes with the doctor and the office staff.
Brazzel Marketing Agency, a company that manages social media, email newsletters, SEO and print campaigns for home health agencies, suggests agencies visit referral sources at least weekly. Or send a rep:
“The American Association of Family Practitioners re-ports that the average family physician handles 121 visits per week. They’re busy. Many physicians will readily admit that it is easy to forget everything you can do. Just because they like you, does not mean that loyal customers always have you on their mind. Marketing planners must not confuse loyalty with Top of Mind Awareness. The question is more than, “When they have a choice will they pick you?”. The question must also be, “When their patient has a need for your services, will they think of you?”. The first question reflects preference or loyalty, but a positive answer can still result in underutilization. The second question reflects Top of Mind Awareness – a crucial ingredient for full and appropriate utilization of your services.“
Ask each patient if they have any specialists they actively see. Contact those specialists and ask them if they would like to have copies of orders or updates of the patient’s condition. This will be an easy way to get your foot in the door with these new referral sources.
Ask your referral sources and their office staff members if they are frustrated with any part of your services or if there is anything you could do better. Sometimes just asking shows people that you appreciate their services. At best, you can obtain some excellent pointers!
Toot Your Own Horn
Sometimes, if you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will! Each time you mail orders to a referral source, make sure to include a cover page with the following:
Thanking the referral source for their business
Listing the ways you go above and beyond
Anything your agency is doing to improve patient outcomes
Anything your agency is doing to improve patient perception for you and the MD
Your Home Health Compare Scores (the good ones)