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Use Program Data to Build a High-Value Referral Network

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Last month, I shared some thoughts about the impact health data collection can have on memberships and how it helps you create unique value propositions for a variety of stakeholders. Now, let’s explore how health data helps fill the top of your referral funnel.

Are you relying on walk-ins to fill your wellness programs?

Traditional marketing efforts realize a 1 – 2% return (interested members that take action on an offer). While that may seem low, it’s typical for many B2C campaigns. However, if you want to cultivate a new market with high-quality leads, consider developing a referral network of clinical partners.

Having a pipeline of medical referrals generates well-qualified leads more likely to engage your programs. In addition, it maintains memberships up to six months longer, on average. Mature programs with dedicated outreach and program teams realize a 60-70% enrollment rate and a 30% membership conversion rate.

Become a reliable partner in the continuation of care.

To build a strong medical referral network, you’ll need a few things: a secure referral method, secure and compliant data collection, proven programs for a variety of patient needs and a means to give outcomes back to the clinicians. Physicians and other health services providers need simple and reliable methods to refer deconditioned patients to community health and wellness services.

Most important is proof through health outcomes that their referred patients will be treated in a manner the clinician can trust. This is where good data collection, recognized programs and professional teams come together to make your organization the top-choice for clinical referrals.

Establish referral pathways built on value and trust.

Having dedicated outside sales teams to interact with health systems, private practices and local clinics will accelerate your network growth. This is a lucrative outside sales opportunity that can really get referrals flowing. But not every organization is ready to go all in hiring physician outreach teams.

To get started, first look to your existing member list for clinicians that already know your facility and programming. Then, ask them if they’d consider referring their patients into programs to address chronic conditions like pre-diabetes, obesity, hypertension and the like. Finally, consider a short-term introduction to a fitness program that tracks membership conversion as one of the health metrics.

Provide secure and easy transmission methods.

High patient volume and limited office visit time for clinicians means clinic workflows must be hyper-efficient to properly address all patient concerns. If it’s quick and easy for a clinician to refer a deconditioned patient into your program from the point-of-care to your organization, they are more likely to do it. Furthermore, anything that requires a clinician to deviate from their usual workflow will not be widely adopted.

Avoid a process that introduces additional clicks, screens, documentation or things to remember. Also, consider using integrated electronic fax services or work with a platform that supports direct referrals. Any option that allows an electronic transmission of a patient referral integrated into existing clinician workflows will be appreciated by all parties including the patient.

Close the loop with referring partners.

Close the referral loop with program progress reports for each practice, physician or employer that sends referrals your way. While you can transmit these summaries electronically, I recommend that your outreach teams use this as an opportunity to meet with your referral partners. Don’t wait for your referring clinicians to ask, “What is happening with the patients I am referring to you?” Take the initiative and start the outreach.

Overall, showing the improvement in health outcomes in a face-to-face meeting is the best way to make sure more referrals fill the top of the funnel for years to come.

 

If you’d like to learn more about using health data to improve member experience, Cassandra Stish is the chief customer officer at Welld Health. She consults with fitness centers of all types on how to become part of the healthcare ecosystem. You can reach Stish at cassandra@welldhealth.com or welldhealth.com.

 

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Cassandra Stish

Cassandra Stish is the chief customer officer at Welld Health. She can be reached by email at cassandra@welldhealth.com or by visiting welldhealth.com

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