Noticed you’ve lost a referral source? Reopen the conversation with a text, email, or in-person conversation. Start by asking about them. How they are doing. How their practice is doing. Comment on something you’ve seen about them lately – a vacation, an award, or a business venture.
Then, use one of these ideas to start the conversation about caring for their patients. Assume that there is a reason why the referral pattern changed. Don’t be defensive. Ask with the desire to learn, improve, and earn the right to care for their patients.
- We haven’t cared for any of your patients in a while. Is there something we need to be doing differently on insurance plan participation, networks, or anything else?
- We really appreciate your trust over the years to allow us to care for your patients. Is there anything we can do to offer even better service to you and your patients?
- Are you running into any barriers with referrals like insurance plan participation or networks that we need to join?
- We want the referral process and the patient experience to be a smooth positive experience. What can we do to improve that? Are you getting reports back timely? Are we taking your patients to the hospitals and imaging centers you want us to use? We would love your feedback to improve the process.
- We would welcome the opportunity to care for your patients again. Are there any barriers to utilizing us that we can fix for you? Like insurance plan participation, facility privileges, or staying in a certain network? We are happy to do anything we can (that is legal and ethical) to improve the process and the care.
- We haven’t seen any of your patients in a while and sure did enjoy caring for them in the past. Did we do something to cause you to utilize someone else? If so, we’d welcome the opportunity to fix it and improve our process.
Then, listen. Listen intently. Don’t defend yourself. If you can shed light on anything they say without deflecting blame, do so. Thank them for the feedback, assure them you’ll take it heart, and then do it. Once you “fix” the issue, now you have an excuse to reach out and let them know how it is resolved. Then, cross your fingers and hope their patients start showing up!