Physician Referral ManagementThe lifeblood of many types of healthcare providers is a physician outreach strategy. A physician referral management system is often used to deliver on this strategy.

Here are just a few of the types of healthcare organizations that rely on physician referrals for revenue.

  • Hospitals
  • Health plans
  • Physical therapy centers
  • Labs
  • Radiology practices
  • Hospice care organizations

According to a 2017 survey published by SCI Solutions, 58% of physicians said that their organization does not have a preferred hospital partner.

Physicians With Preferred Hospital Partner

It can be inferred that a greater-than-zero percent of doctors do not have a preferred physical therapy center, lab, hospice care center, etc.

Referral Management ROI

For any type of healthcare organization to gain a bigger slice of the overall referral pie, a greater investment in personnel and technology is required.

However, it can be challenging to calculate the financial value of more physician referrals that justifies ongoing investments in these additional resources.

When a referral management system like Salesforce is used for tracking the source of new patients, that data can be correlated with EMR data about the value of a patient over time. Salesforce’s Einstein Analytics facilitates the assembly and user views of this correlation.

The data are then available for displaying how much revenue for a reporting period was a direct result of physician referrals. Here is a conceptual view:

Conceptual Physician Referral ROI

Increasing Physician Referrals

Obtaining more physician referrals involves:

  • Creating greater awareness among potential referring physicians
  • Educating physicians and staff about the scope and benefits of services
  • Demonstrating and maintaining a high level of customer service
  • Appealing to the personal and career needs of individual referring physicians
  • Maintaining existing referring physician relationships

Here are several ways in which Salesforce can be used for physician referral management.

Organize Target Networks And Physicians

In the healthcare industry, Salesforce is often used as a shared database of practices, hospitals and physicians. A shared set of information is available in real time to all outreach coordinators who have a user license.

Records in Salesforce can be grouped into existing referral sources and prospective referral sources. Each physician can be assigned to specific outreach coordinator.

Import Physician Information From External Databases

Filtered lists of target physicians based on criteria such as specialty and location can be imported into Salesforce.

Results of these queries can be imported into Salesforce as new prospective referring physicians.

NPI Registry Search Result

Track Physician Relationship Data

Any type of physician profile information that could be useful for other coordinators who become involved in building or maintaining a physician relationship can be stored in physician records in Salesforce.

This could include information about what the main motivator is for a particular physician to provide referrals.

Referring Physician Record in Salesforce

Manage and Facilitate Multiple Forms of Communication

Salesforce allows coordinators to schedule and record the results of several types of ongoing outreach activities — all in one place. Activities include phone calls, emails, events and face to face meetings.

Salesforce can be integrated with each user’s company email and calendar, whether the organization has standardized on Microsoft Office or G Suite. The record of activities completed by each coordinator for each referral source can be viewed by any Salesforce user who has appropriate permissions.

Scheduled activities and reminders can be viewed where a coordinator spends most of his or her time — in either Outlook or GMail. Follow up outreach activities can also be displayed on a mobile device.

Mobile Reminder to Call Physician

Signal When It’s Time to Check In With Referral Sources

Salesforce can be configured to provide on-screen visual indicators and email alerts when referral sources are due or overdue for follow up.

For example, in a CRM list view of key referral sources, physicians who have not been contacted within a specified interval can have a red indicator in a column of a list view. This type of visual cue helps outreach coordinators focus on important physician records and take appropriate stay-in-touch action.

Capture Service Issues and Manage Issues Through to Resolution

Salesforce has a built-in customer service case management system.

Any complaints from or concerns expressed by referral sources can be assigned to the best person to handle the case. These issues can be managed through to resolution within Salesforce.

House Data and Segments for Targeted Email Campaigns

Salesforce Marketing Cloud allows for Salesforce records to be the source data for email marketing campaigns.

Physician records can be segmented within Salesforce by a variety of criteria. Then, the appropriate email messaging can be applied to each segment.

How Salesforce segments can be applied to marketing:

Targeted Physician MarketingUsing Salesforce as the data source, a physical therapy practice marketer could periodically send one variant of a message to orthopedic surgeons and another variant of to sports medicine practitioners.

Depending on the action taken by the recipient, a practice-appropriate follow up email or emails can be automatically scheduled.


Provide Metrics About The Results of Outreach Efforts

Goals that are established and the progress toward those goals can be reported on in Salesforce and displayed as dashboard components.

Dashboards can display charts of progress vs. outreach goals, by service line. The number of customer service issues and average resolution time can also be reported on.

Physician referral management begins with a strategy. Once a strategy has been established, Salesforce can provide a broad toolset to help outreach coordinators to nurture existing physician referral relationships and build new ones.

About the Author

John RousevilleJohn Rounseville is Co-Founder and VP of Business Development at Saxa Solutions in Boston, MA. Saxa specializes in consulting services for Salesforce HLS customers. For more information about how to use Salesforce to increase physician referrals, call John at 866-960-1309 x1 or book a phone appointment.

John Rounseveille LinkedIn