Five Tips For Expanding Your Referral Network

Posted by Cindy Williams on Jun 30, 2021 8:52:52 AM
Cindy Williams
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Building and maintaining a solid physician referral network is a critical resource for an independent musculoskeletal practice.


Last year was the first that less than half (49.1%) of patient care physicians worked in a private practice wholly owned by physicians, according to the American Medical Association’s 2020 Physician Practice Benchmark Survey. Shrinking referral networks and lack of access to tools and resources for patient acquisition have been key contributors to the shift from independence to employment models.


Here are five tips you can implement today to help optimize your referral network and patient acquisition strategy:

1.  Create a List of Prospective Referral Sources

This may sound simple, but getting your office team together to brainstorm ideas can uncover some referral sources you might have missed. These can be prospects for official referrals or health professionals who can help spread the word about your practice. In addition to primary care physicians and non-competing specialists like radiologists, neurologists and general surgeons, think about physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists and rehab centers, fitness trainers, middle and high school athletic programs, massage therapists, chiropractic clinics, urgent care clinics and freestanding ERs. Include those in your geographic area with good patient volumes that appear to share your practice’s values. This will help you build and maintain an outreach plan.

2.  Introduce Yourself to New Providers in the Area

Welcoming new providers in town can benefit both practices. Identify prospects by checking with the local county clerk’s office to review new doctors who recently received their business license. Check the member directory of your local medical society. Send a personal note welcoming the new physician along with a professionally produced rack card or an informational flyer about your practice. You or a practice administrator should follow up with a phone call in a few weeks to ensure they received your information and ask whether they have any questions about your practice – or just about finding their way around the community.

3.  Seek Personal Interactions with Other Physicians

Make a point to interact with referring physicians. Join them in the hospital cafeteria. Participate in medical society meetings and social events. Offer to present educational sessions for colleagues at medical conferences and continuing medical education gatherings.

4.  Be Available

If it takes three months for a referred patient to get an appointment in your office, referral sources may be hesitant to recommend you – no matter how accomplished you are in your field. Make the referral process simple and easy for your colleagues. The fewer hoops they and their patients must jump through to access your care the better.

5.  Keep the Referring Physician Informed

Outcomes-based reimbursements make it more important than ever for referral sources to partner with the best specialists. After a patient’s appointment, be sure to follow up with detailed information for your referring provider. Communication should go both ways between you and the primary care physician be sure to ask them to let you know how the patient does in the future.


As a healthcare provider, your first responsibility is patient care. But building and maintaining your patient base is a critical component of a successful practice. MPOWERHealth is here to help. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can assist with growing your practice, from strategic planning and marketing to social media outreach and online reputation management.


Topics: Orthopaedics, Neurosurgery, Neurosurgical Care, Musculoskeletal Care, Spine Bundles, Healthcare Analytics, Orthopedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Independent Physicians, Value-based care, Technology, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona