As the healthcare industry becomes more competitive, both individual hospitals and health systems struggle with referral leakage. Recently, even prominent institutions have seen out-migration rates creep into the double digits. In this environment, keeping physicians informed about your hospital’s strengths, including procedural expertise, key hires, and facilities upgrades, is essential to building loyalty and stemming out-migration.
Hospitals need to communicate with their physicians on a regular basis, but as hospital systems get larger, connecting with individual doctors becomes harder. There simply aren’t enough physician liaisons to go around. Email offers an efficient solution. By carefully targeting physicians with timely, relevant email, you can demonstrate that they have no reason to refer patients anywhere but your hospital.
6 Ways to Connect With Physicians
If you haven’t used targeted email to reach physicians in the past, try this approach:
- Identify physicians who are referring out of your system. A high-quality physician email database includes procedure code data that you can use to identify network physicians who are referring out.
- Create transparency. Once you’ve determined the source of referral leakage in a particular department, share that information with the entire team. If you have five orthopedists who consistently keep cases in-network and five who don’t, send an email describing the department’s record and outlining goals for improvement.
- Start a dialogue between administration and physicians. Use email to remind physicians of your hospital’s strengths in key procedures and invite feedback. Be ready to follow up with supporting material via email, or to send physician liaisons to meet with individual doctors.
- Promote service line events. Identify all potential referrers for key service lines based on specialty and procedure code data, paying special attention to those who are referring out. Send email invitations to each of these physicians before your next service line meeting or CME event.
- Keep the communication channel open. After the event, follow-up with a thank-you email and an opportunity to ask additional questions. All of these tasks can be automated to assist your physician liaison team.
- Enlist the help of internal KOLs. Recruit key influencers in your network to write personalized, physician-to-physician emails discussing core attributes of your strongest service lines. Ask them to share recent patient success stories and updates regarding new physicians or advanced equipment. Done right, these emails contribute to a stronger peer network, increase pride in your hospital, and address any objections physicians might have to referring in-system.
Start with a High-Quality Database
To make your physician email campaigns truly successful, start with an extensive, authenticated database. Most physicians have multiple email addresses, but prefer to receive professional information at their home email address. Be sure your database verifies the accuracy of all addresses, keeps that data up-to-date, and identifies the address each doctor is most likely to check.
Also consider what segmenting criteria are available. Most service lines receive referrals from multiple specialties, so targeting by specialty alone won’t let you reach all the physicians who may be referring out. For greater precision and better referral rates, you need to be able to sort by procedure code, referral pattern data, claims data, and hospital affiliation as well.