Direct access is now available across the entire country in one form or another. As such, the opportunity for physical therapists to reach out to patients first is wide open. There are significant advantages of direct access to the market, including reduced costs and fewer health care visits, according to this study from Science Daily.

However, the new era of direct access means that many are neglecting one of the most reliable lead-building relationships available. Referral partnerships can still help PTs maximize their patient reach. Here, we’re going to look at five strategies for increasing physician referrals you shouldn’t turn your back on.

Find the Right Partners

You want to ensure that the referrals you’re able to earn are a match for your niche or specialty. As such, it’s crucial that you start trying to build relationships with physicians who are treating patients of the same demographic as you. For instance, if you specialize in treating college-age athletes, you should focus on getting in touch with sports-medicine doctors. If you specialize in care for older patients, you should look for those who focus on Medicare-provided services.

Bring Value to Your Relationships

To keep increasing physician referrals, you need a relationship of mutual gain and trust with those you collaborate with. There may be physicians who are happy to create a transactional relationship with you, but the most valuable partnerships go beyond. When talking to new physicians, lead with what you can do for them, and the value you can bring to the relationship, before asking what they can do for you.

Have Physicians Come to You

Naturally, physicians want to build relationships with PTs, too. They want to make sure that they’re sending their patients to the best practitioners possible. You can put yourself in that position by building your brand and reputation. Online, that’s easier than ever, though it does take work. Setting up a valuable, informative blog designed to show your authority over your niche, building a social media presence, and finding speaking spots at conferences and networking events can build the authority of your practice. If that happens, you can expect physicians to come to you.

Make Sure Your Patients Are Happy

Your referrals aren’t just the result of a relationship between you and the physician. Rather, it is a three-way relationship between PT, physician, and patient. If a patient isn’t pleased with your services, then they’re likely to let the physician know that since they’re one who made the referral in the first place. Doing what you can to improve patient happiness, including soliciting feedback directly from them, is essential.

Leverage Your Data

Measuring and monitoring the patient experience and defining satisfaction can help you get a better idea of which patients are happy, which aren’t, and help you gain some insight into why. Technology makes it possible to improve the patient experience resulting in measurable outcomes.

For instance, you can use Net Promoter Scores to track patient loyalty, offering you real data that can make it easier to see where patients drop-out, if that’s becoming a problem. The AC Health App has an NPS of 91 – a great value add to patients and physical therapy clinics alike.

Don’t neglect the lead building potential of referrals simply because direct access makes it easier to reach patients first. Keep all your channels open, including referrals, and optimize them to the best of your ability to ensure the greatest chance of success. For more information, contact us to improve your clinics efficiency and grow your practice.