Selling home health care to doctors: advice from a doctor.
How To Get Referrals
As a doctor, I can tell you, getting home care referrals from doctors is HARD. The first step is to understand the workflow of how patients are referred.
In general, you will have 4 main referral sources to cultivate.
- Primary Care Doctors refer patients who ASK the doctor about home care, often times this is through their social worker or office manager.
- Care Managers/Social Workers/Discharge Planners REFER patients leaving the hospital.
- ER doctors can also CONSULT a social worker and get them to assist the patient with follow-up.
- Referrals from Non-Medical home health agencies.
So you must take into consideration these 4 unique ways that patients are referred to best understand how to get referrals. Make sure you have a plan. Check out this blog post to see an interview with an ER social worker –
Actions Are Important
- Think about each scenario individually – empathize with your target ‘referrer’. (you should always try to understand your target customer)
- Be available 24/7. Keep your phone on and make it EASY for Discharge Planners to refer patients to you.
- These same discharge planners often maintain a list of agencies that they refer patients too. This is often quite literally a word document that they go through one by one. You need to get on that word document. To do this you need to HUSTLE and try to make contacts with hospital social workers and discharge planners. Your key mission is to DETERMINE EXACTLY HOW THEY REFER THEIR PATIENTS. Each hospital and even each floor of the hospital may be different.
Get On The Referral List
- Figure out how each of the previous 4 sources refers patients and get on their “list”. These lists are often times short – like 20–30 agencies. You want to be on it.
- Keep touching base, shoot a text, or email every 6 months or so saying thanks for the referrals. Bring donuts, coffee or send a thank you card for the referrals.
- Consider giving ONE SINGLE SELLING point to the discharge planner. Ask them to put this on their list. Selling too hard will overwhelm them. Keep it short, something like “we are available 24/7, can come out to the patient’s house immediately and are great with the elderly!”. Something along those lines.
- You can try to sell to ER doctors but this will be very difficult. Don’t waste to much time on it as this will be low yield.
- You can also try to sell Primary Care Doctors. This may be higher yield than marketing to ER doctors. Primary care physicians may recommend home PT or non-medical care.
- Become THE HOME HEALTH PERSON for all your friends and family. Tell them “don’t leave the hospital without contacting me first”.
Also list yourself on yelp, google and any other site that will allow you to list. GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE.
Finally, consider adding yourself to a platform like the company I own –. Sites like this allow users to shop multiple agencies at once.
However, don’t rely on third party sites to drive all your business. The key is hustling EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.