Are you looking to grow your sleep center volume in 2022? Well, the time to get started is now. Building your referral network and gaining referrals from existing patients are critical to growing your patient database. Here are seven recommendations that your clinic can easily implement to build your patient base and increase sleep center volume.
1. Proactively Build New Relationships
If you’re looking to add to the number of physicians referring patients to your clinic, a good place to start is your current patients and colleagues. Which doctors continually come up in conversation with peers and patients? That’s a pretty good indication of the ones you should reach out to. Find out where they are sending their patients today and if they currently have a preferred clinic. If they don’t have a preferred sleep center, ask to be their go-to for patient treatment. Reassure them by name dropping other doctors with whom you have built referral relationships.
2. Double-Down on Doctors that Already Send Patients Your Way
Do most of your referrals come from the same physicians? Make a point to thank them for the opportunity to provide treatment to their patients either by stopping in at the clinic, or with a phone call or email, whichever is appropriate. Appreciation is not only the right sentiment to express, but will also go a long way in ensuring that you stay front of mind when they’re considering who to send patients to in the future.
3. Leverage Free Time to Connect with Doctors One on One
For St. Joseph Health System (SJH) in Bryan, Texas, implementing AI scoring resulted in opportunities to increase their referral network by building and reestablishing physician relationships. Since implementing EnsoSleep, SJH was able to reallocate some of the time their sleep lab coordinator, John Childers, RPSGT, previously spent scoring studies into reconnecting and building relationships with physicians in the sleep center’s referral network. With the additional time, Childers was able to educate local physicians and staff on what to look for with STOP-Bang scores, leaks, CPAP, and BiPAP, all of which led to improved relationships, more referrals and sleep center growth.
4. Create a One-Page Pitch Piece
Include your hours, contact info, insurance providers, photos of your clinic, photos and brief bios of your clinicians and technologists, available testing equipment and supported procedures, pretty much anything that will help promote your clinic as one that is qualified, friendly and easy to work with. Email, fax, or drop these one-pagers off at offices that are already sending you patients, (when you stop in to thank them for the referrals), and use them as a way to introduce yourself to physicians with whom you’d like to build relationships. Even better, provide them with a supply to give out to patients they are sending your way so patients can easily find you.
5. Ask Patients for Referrals
Before patients leave your clinic, ask them to recommend your sleep center to friends or family with sleep or health issues. Send patients home with educational information about sleep health or follow up in an email with information they can easily pass along to family and friends. Don’t be shy about giving them a few business cards (or maybe even your one-page pitch piece). If you have a patient-evangelist that loves to share their story about how you’ve changed their life for the better. Have swag on hand to give to patients after you’ve provided treatment.
6. Request Patient Reviews and Testimonials
When patients show gratitude for the healthcare services you provide, or for helping them finally get a good night of sleep, ask them for a positive review on yelp or google. Do you have a Facebook business page? Invite your followers to review your sleep center. To make it easy for patients to find you on social, create and display a QR code in your waiting room so patients can scan the code and be directed to your Facebook page.
Encourage patients to post a review of your clinic, and then thank them for doing so by replying to their post. If you happen to receive a negative or unsatisfactory review, it’s best practice to reply right away, apologize and sympathize with the reviewer, and then offer to take the conversation “offline” to rectify the situation.
7. Get Involved in Your Community
Sponsor and volunteer at charity events. Offer free educational seminars at the local library or community center. Host a free webinar or zoom video meeting/event to educate providers in your area on sleep medicine. Sponsor a blood drive or accept collections for the local food pantry at your sleep center. Not only will it promote goodwill and help others in need, but it will also showcase your clinic location, staff, and services. When you give back to your community, people will remember you and your clinic when they have a need for the services and healthcare you provide.
That’s it – seven quick tips for ramping up your referral business. Word of mouth advertising is often forgotten with all the new digital options, but leveraging the power of referrals is one thing your clinic should focus on to build your patient base and bring community awareness to your sleep center. If you’re interested in checking out a few other articles, you might like:
If you need support for the increased growth you get from all those referrals, we’d love to chat! Read our case study to see how one of our customers utilized EnsoSleep to Simplify Workflow, Improve Turnaround Times, and Reduce Costs.