How To Obtain More Referrals From Pediatricians

Russell G. Volpe, DPM

Taking Your Case To Fellow Doctors And Hospitals

What can you do as the specialist to increase referrals from neighborhood pediatricians? Begin by making sure that these practices know of your interest in treating children and of any special expertise and skills you may have in this area. Introduce yourself by scheduling a visit with the doctors and staff. Ensuring the staff in a pediatrician’s office know you and your availability as a referral resource can be as important as the doctor having your name handy to offer to parents. Patients and parents often seek out office staff members for insight on who is the “best” or “right” specialist for them to see.

   You can take the “get acquainted” visit to another level by sponsoring an in-service lunch for the doctors. Doctors love sponsored lunches. In a busy practice, they often only have time for a quick bite. If someone is providing the food, they are more than happy to sit and listen to what you have to tell them while they eat lunch. You can plan your presentation to be anything from a simple fact sheet about what kind of conditions they could send you accompanied by a short biography to a PowerPoint presentation with visuals and handouts.

   Whatever approach you decide to take, have plenty of handouts about you and your practice to leave behind along with an ample supply of your business cards. Once you have prepared one of these overview talks, you can easily reuse the talks for visits to other practices to grow your referral base.

   If you are on a hospital staff in your community, use the medical staff office and services to acquaint yourself with area pediatricians admitting to the same hospital. Attend medical staff meetings and become active among the doctors at your hospital. This is an easy way to get to know the pediatricians who might refer to you. Take every opportunity to chat with these other doctors in a casual, relaxed setting away from the demands of patient care. Let them know of your interest and expertise in working with children. Many hospitals offer grand rounds or monthly lectures to attendings on staff and to residents training at that hospital.

   Attempt to contact the hospital pediatrics department and find out what regular meetings of attendings and residents they hold. Offer to present at one of them. If it is a grand rounds format, choose an interesting case that highlights your skill set and prepare a short PowerPoint presentation to deliver. If it is a lecture that the department requests, put together a simple talk on common foot and lower extremity problems in children, and emphasize how the pediatrician might recognize which children should be referred. Use the opportunity to raise their awareness. Always have handouts, flyers and/or cards with you to enhance retention and recognition. Referrals will follow if you do it well.

   In addition to visits to offices, you might try mailings with cover letters and practice brochures that include thorough descriptions of the pediatric services you offer. While mailings can save the time and effort of a visit to an office, there is no substitute for meeting the doctors. Doctors are far more likely to refer to someone they know and having a face to put with a name can go a long way to making sure you are the first name they think of when they need a pediatric podiatrist.

Harnessing The Referral Potential Of The Internet

Another excellent method of gaining more exposure to pediatricians is to develop a Web site for your practice and make sure to include aspects of pediatrics in the information you provide on the site. If you already have a Web site, take a look at how much pediatrics you highlight. If that is an aspect of your practice that you want to grow, increase the amount of content on your site about the care of children’s feet.

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