Recent trends in healthcare are making it hard for doctors to keep track of the services health systems provide. Rapid consolidation can cause confusion regarding who operates which facilities. And the shift from self-contained hospitals to large, geographically dispersed networks further complicates the situation. When physicians don’t know what services are available in-system, they’re more likely to refer out.
We recently explored some of the reasons why email is the most efficient way to engage doctors and increase in-network referrals. Today, we’ll look at a few of the many messages healthcare marketers should be communicating to ensure that physicians are aware of all that their health systems have to offer. For example:
- Outpatient facilities. Introducing new physicians to your affiliated clinics in a systematic way will encourage them to keep referrals in-network. Your initial email might link to a directory of services on your website. Subsequent messages could then spotlight one or two of these facilities each month.
- Key service lines. While many physicians may already be aware of your key service lines, it’s a good idea to remind them of your specific strengths. Any relevant news—for example, when a star physician joins your staff or you acquire a cutting-edge piece of equipment—provides an opportunity to reach out via email.
- Complex care clinics. Some doctors may be unaware of the exact capabilities of a new cancer center or pediatric care clinic as compared to those provided by your existing hospital. Email allows you to educate doctors on the difference and help them determine which of their patients will benefit most from these facilities.
- Work-based clinics and mobile care. Health systems that strive to provide services when and where patients are available need to keep physicians current on upcoming employer and school clinics, so they can pass that information on to patients. Email is also an efficient way to share information about the availability of ambulatory services.
- Telehealth. As technology steps in to help provide patient care, whether in the form of remote patient monitoring or mobile apps that let patients stay connected with providers, it’s critical that physicians are aware of the services your system supports.
When physicians don’t know what services are available in-system, they’re more likely to refer out.
- Organizational changes. Email is also an efficient way to make physicians aware of mergers, acquisition, and growth. A quick reminder of an organizational change, along with a bulleted list of available services, keeps your new facilities top of mind when it’s time to make referrals.
When it comes to keeping referrals in-network, raising awareness of your health system’s services and facilities is your top priority. Establishing an ongoing email dialogue with in-network physicians will ensure that they are fully aware of the care opportunities available to their patients.