3 Ways Orthopedic and Spine Surgeons Can Strengthen Relationships With Referring Physicians

Laura Dyrda -  
Orthopedic and spine surgeons need to establish a positive relationship with referring physicians in their communities to maintain referrals and increase patient volume. The increase in patients will lead to an increase in practice revenues, says David Shrier, CEO of HCPlexus, a company that maintains the "Little Blue Book" referral database for physicians. "If you take 30 minutes per day to connect to the referral network, that will have an impact on the referral stream and ultimately practice revenue" he says.

Here are three ways Mr. Shrier says orthopedic and spine surgeons can improve their relationships with referring physicians.

1. Update referring physician on their patients. When a general practitioner or other physician refers their patient to you, keep them updated on the status of the patient, says Mr. Shrier. The referring physicians appreciate knowing how their patients are responding to treatment and following up with their medical conditions. "Communicating about the patients helps the referring physicians feel good about the referral they just made," says Mr. Shrier. Keeping these lines of communication open with referring physicians strengthens your relationship with them and will encourage future referrals.

2. Educate referring physicians on new technologies or procedures. If you become trained on a new procedure or technology, such as endoscopic spine surgery or computer-assisted knee replacements, contact your referring physicians and educate them about the technology. The referring physicians will feel more comfortable sending patients your way if they understand exactly how the new technology will benefit their patients, says Mr. Shrier.

3. Send thank you notes to referring physicians.
If there are particular referring physicians who often send you patients, take the time to write thank you notes to them, says Mr. Shrier. "People don't get enough personal notes any more," he says. "This is going to help the referring physician feel like his or her patient is being taken care of." Include the practice name on the letter and address it directly to the referring physician to personalize the message.

Learn more about HCPlexus.

Read other coverage about improving practice profits:

- 4 Best Business Practices for Marketing Your Orthopedic Practice

- 6 Ways for Orthopedic and Spine Surgery Centers to Stay Profitable in 2011

- 5 Steps to Achieving High Patient Satisfaction at Orthopedic Practices

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