How to Increase Online Referrals from Doctors

Even in direct access states, physical therapy referrals from doctors are one of the top sources of new patients. Most practices have an existing network of referral partners, but it can be difficult to form new relationships. For some doctors, the ability to make online referrals can be an appealing option and will help your PT practice stand out. Online referrals can easily be submitted through your website and should be part of your doctor marketing plan.

Setting up online referrals

Your website should include an easily accessible page with a form for doctors or their staff to submit referrals online. This could either be the same form that patients use to request additional information, or a specific form for doctors. We recommend a form specifically for doctors so that they can provide all relevant information online without having to call in. Include fields for:

  • Patient’s name and contact information
  • Doctor’s name, office and contact information
  • Patient’s condition or injury
  • Recommended course of treatment

Ensure that this form is securely submitted via a HIPPA compliant service. Your website marketing company can set this up. Once an online referral is sent, an automated response should send an email to your front desk. This email should tell them to contact the patient and set up an appointment. Additionally, you should send an email to the doctor’s office thanking them for the referral. Download our free guide for online and social media marketing best practices to attract more patients

Marketing online referrals

Once your website can accept online referrals, you should promote this feature to doctors and their office staff. The best way is to explain how to refer online the next time you do an office visit with the doctor. Educate the doctor about this added benefit of referring to you. You should also offer to train the office staff on how to use your website’s referral form. You want to emphasize the ease, convenience and security of submitting patient referrals online. A good example is that office staff can easily submit an online referral while waiting on hold on the phone or in between checking in patients. And, reinforce that your office staff with follow up with confirmation of the referral, status reports and any questions.

You can also promote online referrals in your doctor marketing campaigns. Add a callout to your monthly mailers that encourages doctors to visit your website to refer patients. If this is a new feature to your practice, consider using relevant imagery such as a doctor or medical office staff at a computer to incorporate visual elements. You can also post about online referrals on LinkedIn or other professional social networks. We do not recommend using Facebook, which is more patient focused. Instead, share a personal update from your LinkedIn and/or practice business page that talks about online referrals and links directly to the doctor’s referral form.

For more information on online referrals and marketing PT to doctors, read our blogs and follow us on social media.

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