Increasing Physician Referrals - Marketing for Your Sleep Center Practice
If you are operating
like most Sleep Centers, referrals from physicians are a good part of your
bread and butter. According to a recent survey, more than 50% of patient
referrals to independent sleep centers come from Primary Care Physicians (PCP). With growing public awareness of sleep disorders, and especially sleep
apnea, PCPs are the group that will see most of these patients, especially
those whose chief complaint is difficulty breathing.
relationships with referring physicians can be as important to a successful
sleep center practice, as is cementing those same kinds of relationships with
your patients. The challenge is how to do that in a way that suits the best
interests of your practice, the referring physician’s practice, and all of the
In the highly
competitive arena of the sleep industry, marketing and branding are not only
critical to helping your business stand above the competition, a properly
crafted message can help you to attract more referrals. Marketing to referring
physicians is the same thing as marketing to any other target, you must
understand what their main concerns are, and offer solutions for them.
Understand that for
any referring physicians, making referrals is both a clinical and a business
decision. Before they refer a patient to your sleep center, one of their first
concerns is whether your center will take proper care of their patients and
provide adequate support before, during, and after therapy.
When marketing to
potential referral sources, you need to show them that you are a leader in core
competencies of patient care, education, practice management and
follow-up. You need to show them that you are not only a leader in the
field, but also a force for education
and an advocate for changing perceptions about sleep disorders. Clearly
designing a message that says you are putting patient needs first, and clearly
articulating for the referring physician the benefits that result from
diagnosis and treatment at your center, will encourage PCPs to see you as an
ally in their efforts regarding care for their patients with sleep disorders.
Gain an Edge
Developing a strong
message and a better-focused marketing plan towards referring physicians is the
first step. Then how do you get the word out there? All the traditional
marketing efforts are important, up to and including face-to-face meetings with
area physicians. However, you also need to leverage the power of new and
emerging media such as social networking. If your sleep center business does
not have a presence on Facebook, or one of the other large social network
aggregators, you need to get one.
The digital age is
here, and social network marketing is critical to creating a brand identity,
building communities, and maintaining communication with clients. The corporate
world is recognizing this, as every major brand has a Facebook page where it
can reach out to its community of loyal followers.
The same technology
that can be used to update interested consumers on the latest products from
NIKE, Lexus or Honda – can and should also be used to keep your potential
patients and referring physicians abreast of vital sleep related health
information, and updates about your facilities and the services you offer.
marketing goes hand and hand with your website to establish an overall web
presence. Your center needs to have a well-designed, easy to navigate and
informative Website. Did you know that more than 90 percent of physicians say
they use the internet for information? Your website is a great place to
establish your Center’s brand identity and also build relationships with
potential patients, as well as referral sources. Your website should also be a
place where current patients and referring physicians can get immediate and
simple online assistance.
more referrals doesn’t stop with better-focused and more creative marketing
efforts. You can’t expect to build your business without having the right
Get More from Your
referrals and keeping your referral network active and happy can best be
accomplished by working with a sleep lab management solutions provider that
intimately knows the business of sleep such as Indigo Arc.
Indigo Arc's Sleep
Lab Management(SLaM)platform is an all-in-one solution that has been designed by sleep
professionals for sleep professionals, that integrates sleep study analysis,
and all aspects of practice management, including workflow, and electronic
medical records management. It is one of the only turnkey solutions that can be
delivered to you as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution deployed in the
Cloud. That means no need for you to invest in servers, or costly IT
infrastructure, or even software licenses – you merely pay for the services you
The SLaM platform is safe and
secure, and shares patient study information with the referring physician
through a Referring Physician's Portal as the sleep study progresses. SLaMprovides all of the advantages of a
cloud based system. It reduces staff labor, paperwork, and analysis turnaround
time. Its unique feature set also enhances your marketing efforts with an
integrated referring physician database, as well as providing you with
marketing reports and outlooks, and real time notifications, alerts and
A Final Point
Lack of sleep is
recognized as a growing concern among individuals, businesses, government
agencies, and the healthcare community. The demand for Sleep Centers is growing
– as is the competition.
marketing efforts, making sure your centers are equipped with the state-of-the
art tools, and partnering with the right software provider are all important to
stand apart from your competitors. But, one final point. None of those
elements will work on their own to build your business and bring in more
referrals – they must be integrated together, and that means someone needs to
focus his or her attention on coordinating your staff and your resources to
grow your sleep services to attract more patients and referrals.
This point person
must be a motivator, someone willing to not be happy with things as they are,
but to be continuously focused on gaining new sleep patients and referrals
through excellent customer service, and community outreach. With the
right resources at his or her disposal, and such a team leader, you will
attract more sleep patients and increase referrals.