By this point, you know that having data to present to referring physicians is important—crucial even—when it comes to effectively marketing your practice and increasing new patient volume. After all, referring providers want to send their patients to rehab therapists who produce the best outcomes and the highest satisfaction ratings. And while anecdotes are great, they may not be enough to convince a potential referrer that you’ve got what it takes.
But the question remains: what kind of data will have the most impact? Here are six stats your referring physician wants to hear, and that you can use to better market yourself—and your practice:
1. Total Visits to Discharge
Who doesn’t want to get better faster? Every referring provider—and patient, for that matter—wants to find the rehab therapist who delivers the best outcomes in the fewest visits. After all, no one wants to be in pain longer than they need to be—and an excessive number of appointments can be cost prohibitive.
So, knowing the average number of visits before discharge for diagnoses that are relevant to each referring physician can be incredibly helpful in winning new business. For example, if you have data demonstrating that you restore function for patients post-TKR (total knee replacement) faster than your competitors, then you’ll surely want to share it with the orthopedic surgeons in your area.
2. Outcomes Data
That said, speed isn’t everything—and you certainly don’t want to prioritize quickness over quality of care. That’s where outcomes data comes in—one of the most important stats your referring physician wants to hear, if not the most important. Being able to objectively prove that you produce the results patients and referring providers are looking for is critical to forming solid referral relationships. After all, exceptional outcomes data on relevant diagnoses and cases can establish you as the go-to therapist in your field. It can also help you win over physicians in large healthcare systems who may otherwise refer to therapists who are also in that system. Just be sure that you’re using industry-standard, reputable outcome measurement tools so the data is relevant to the providers you’re trying to win over.
3. Patient Satisfaction and Loyalty Scores
Excellent outcomes data is great—but it won’t mean much if your patients aren’t pleased with you or your practice. In fact, no matter how great your care is, an unhappy patient may not be able to see it. And unhappiness can stem from a number of things, including communication challenges, billing issues, long wait times, inefficient flow between exercises, and a lack of positive rapport.
With the increased focus on patient-centric care, referring primary care physicians and specialists are more interested than ever in ensuring that their patients have a positive experience with the care providers they recommend. So, make it a point to monitor your patients’ feelings about your practice—and respond to feedback quickly. If you use a nationally recognized metric—like Net Promoter ScoreⓇ (NPSⓇ), which measures loyalty—then you’ll be able to provide potential referral partners with a meaningful number they can easily compare to other rehab providers.
4. Number of Reviews and Average Star Rating
Another measure of patient satisfaction is the number of online reviews you amass—as well as the average star rating of those reviews. To boost your online reputation, you’ve got to have a system in place for asking patients to review you—but you probably wouldn’t want to ask patients who aren’t happy with your services. Instead, make it a point to leverage your already-pleased patients—as identified by their NPS scores—to serve as brand ambassadors and sing your praises from the rooftops (or at least on major online review sites like Yelp and Google). That way, you can direct prospective referring physicians to your pages on these sites so they can get a feel for how their patients may experience your practice.
5. Therapist Education, Training, and Special Certifications
If you—or your staff—have years of experience, specialized training, specific certifications, or any other relevant qualifications that speak to your ability to treat a particular patient population, then mentioning specialty referrals can serve as a boon unto themselves. (It’s also something you’ll want to highlight on your website and marketing materials, because patients will want to know this about you as well.)
If you don’t, you may want to consider obtaining some relevant credentials—or perhaps even a board certification—especially if you think it will enable you to better care for your ideal patient population.
6. Direct Secure Messaging (DSM)
If you’re finding that fewer and fewer physicians and healthcare organizations are referring to your practice, consider the effect DSM has had on the referral world. As recently as this 2020 TigerConnect survey, 39% of physicians prefer DSM—which accounts for the largest chunk of communication preferences among this group. Compound that with the fact that 96% of acute care hospitals are using DSM-capable electronic medical records (EMRs), and you can see why your referral sources are communicating on a different level than you may have been.
Hearing that you’re part of the growing number of DSM users ranks as one of the stats your referring physician will be most delighted to receive. Luckily, making the jump to a DSM-capable EMR is readily available for rehab therapists today, so do not hesitate to mention your ability to fast-track the referral process via DSM at your next meet and greet. Or—better yet—message your referral sources through the DSM directory to let them know how their patients are doing and call to mind your priority to put care coordination on a pedestal.
There you have it: six stats your referring physicians want to hear. Have others that you’ve found to be successful when marketing to referring physicians? Please share them in the comment section below. If you’re looking for some more advice on referral marketing—or marketing in general—check out our webinar: Double Your Reach: Marketing Hacks for Inside and Outside Your Practice.