Three Key Elements About You for Practitioner Networking
One of the greatest channels to grow your practice is through consistent referrals from other healthcare practitioners (medical doctors, massage therapists, physiotherapists). However, it’s important not to assume that other healthcare professionals truly understand what you do. Your diagnostic approach, your time spent with patients, and the treatment options you provide potentially don’t align with what they know about you. We all have our assumptions as to what other healthcare disciplines do and how they do it. That’s why there’s tremendous benefit in making your introduction to your surrounding network of practitioners explaining three critical elements about what value you offer patients and indirectly, the referring practitioner. Ultimately, the referral will be based on their confidence (and trust) in your ability to help their patient.
1) Diagnostic Excellence in Musculoskeletal Conditions:
One of our strongest advantages as chiropractors is our ability to provide patients with concise, specific, and accurate diagnoses for their MSK conditions. Our incredibly in-depth education in MSK anatomy, orthopedic examination and palpation, when used in conjunction with a thorough history, equip chiropractors to achieve diagnostic excellence. By making your diagnostic process a priority on your initial consultation and re-examination appointments, you facilitate the ideal platform to deliver treatment specificity and ultimately amazing outcomes. Favourable outcomes for patients in turn means their referring practitioner will be confident they are referring their MSK cases to the right practitioner!
2) Your Availability for Access to Care:
It may seem like simple information to find, but busy healthcare professionals and patients don’t always have the time or the know-how on where to find details on who you are, where you practice, or your when you’re available to be seen. When making your introduction to another healthcare professional, make sure you include how patients can book with you, how long it might take them to see you for an initial consultation, and what they can expect on the first visit. Do you offer online booking? Do you offer direct billing to insurance companies? Is your clinic wheelchair accessible? The more details they know will only allow for a greater likelihood that they will make the effort to contact your clinic and book a consultation. Make sure that the information is delivered as concisely and cleanly as possible, as bombarding the practitioner with unnecessary information that does not impact the patient’s ability to book with you will only deter them from reading through all your details.
3) Promise Something in Return:
For putting their trust in you, I encourage you to offer the referring practitioners a promise in return. For my practice, the external inbound referral practitioner network I work with values communication on their patients’ diagnoses, prognosis and outcomes to treatment. In many cases, healthcare disciplines still work in silos, and this lack of communication can be problematic for both continuity of care and expediency of diagnostic access. Think about it – if you refer out to another practitioner for a treatment option you don’t offer but you’re confident it’s what the patient needs, how much does it reassure you that your patient is in good hands if you receive a report from that practitioner on the treatment details, frequency and expected prognosis? It’s no different when other healthcare professionals refer to you. I highly recommend sending a copy of the patient’s written report of findings (more on this next week) shortly after the initial consultation as well as a quick discharge note when treatment has been completed. When meeting these practitioners, try to get a feel for what they value in a referral partnership and make a promise to them that you will help provide a level of service for their patients above and beyond the bare minimum.